06/20/2008 12:00AM

Step 1 in big plan for Rough Road Ahead


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer John Tammaro III has a turf-to-dirt strategy mapped out for Rough Road Ahead that could take the chestnut colt all the way to the $1 million Haskell Invitational.

The plan starts Sunday at Monmouth Park with the $60,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes for 3-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

If all goes well in that spot, Tammaro will next run Rough Road Ahead, winner of last year's New Jersey Futurity, back at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt July 12 in the $150,000 Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth's prep for the Grade 1 Haskell, the centerpiece of the meet on Aug. 3.

"We wanted a race for him before we stretch him out again," Tammaro said. "This fits perfectly. He'll be fine on the grass. If you have a horse that can run, he'll run on any surface. And this colt can run."

Rough Road Ahead hails from the same family as Thistyranthasclass, winner of the 2000 Long Branch for Tammaro and the Roseland Farm before finishing fifth in the Haskell after stumbling badly at the start.

Completing the Fowler field are: Chitoz, Earlswood Pete, Mannington, Sheer Faith, and Dicey D J.

Indy Joe and D'Wild Affair were entered for the main track only.

Tarrant running a winning show

Things are looking bright these days around Amy Tarrant's barn after Indy Wind romped in the Frisk Me Now Stakes on June 7 and Came Through, a 4-year-old filly first-timer, won on Wednesday.

Both horses demonstrate the value of patience, a virtue often in short supply on a racetrack backstretch.

As both the owner and trainer of every horse in the stable, Tarrant sets her own timetables.

"I have the luxury of taking my time, where many public trainers don't." Tarrant said. "This game is teaching me patience, and I never was a very patient person. I've had my heart broken so many times by horses I've tried to get back. I'd get them close to racing, and they'd reinjure themselves. That's what breaks your back in this business."

Came Through, a $300,000 yearling purchase, was a major project.

"No one will know how hard we worked to get her to the races," Tarrant said. "She was immature, so we gave her some time. She was ready to run last year at 3, but she got injured. We sent her back home to Florida for six more months. We started back with her in January and she had a lovely race the other day. We're beside ourselves with joy, because she was worth the wait."

Indy Wind, 6, has had injury issues throughout his career. The Frisk Me Now was only his 19th career start in his final racing season.

He is now being pointed to Monmouth's Grade 3 Salvator Mile on July 5.

"He's feeling the best he's every felt," Tarrant said. "Knock on wood, because he's one we've had to keep stopping on."

Haskell tickets a hot item

With Big Brown now on target for the $1 million Haskell Invitational, the remaining seats for the biggest day of the meet are expected to sell quickly.

The grandstand and clubhouse reserved seats range from $10 to $17, while box seats are $12. Tickets are available every racing day at the reserved seat booth on the second floor of the grandstand.