08/26/2010 2:28PM

Three familiar rivals meet again in Restoration Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Beau Choix, part of a three-horse photo in the Quick Call at Saratoga, meets two of the same horses that he narrowly defeated in the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – The Quick Call Stakes on July 29 at Saratoga produced a nail-biting finish with Beau Choix prevailing by a head over Lonesome Street with Lighthouse Sound also right there in the photo.

That trio are about to meet again, only this time they take the show on the road.

The rematch comes Saturday in the $100,000 Restoration Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Monmouth Park.

The Restoration shares top billing with another $100,000 stakes, the Miss Woodford for 3-year-old filly sprinters.

Beau Choix is on a terrific form spree for trainer Barclay Tagg since scoring his maiden win at Gulfstream Park in March, posting with two wins and a third, including an overnight stakes victory on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

Joe Bravo will be aboard for the first time.

Tough-luck loser Lonesome Street will look to reverse the Saratoga decision for trainer Mike Maker, who is sending out winners at Monmouth at a 40 percent clip (8 for 20). Chris DeCarlo picks up the mount.

Lighthouse Sound dropped all the way down to a $12,000 claimer to get his maiden win in January at Penn National. His career turned around with the shift to the turf with 3 wins in 5 starts since the surface change. Eddie Castro rides for trainer Mike Trombetta.

Audacity of Hope looks like the biggest threat to the trio exiting the Quick Call. He made his first 11 starts in England for trainer Jeremy Noseda before arriving at Monmouth for the Jersey Derby on the Haskell undercard.

Audacity of Hope was an impressive second, overcoming both traffic issues and a slipped saddle.

Several days after the race, owner Earl Mack transferred the colt to trainer Graham Motion.

“I’m going by what might have been in the Jersey Derby and how he’s done since then,” Motion said. “He acts like a very nice horse. He’s had one good work for me since then.

“I think this race came up very competitive with horses coming out of the race at Saratoga. I think that winner is a very nice horse. This is no easy spot.”

Owner-trainer Amy Tarrant is taking two shots with The Cognac Kid, sixth in the Jersey Derby after taking a hard bump at the start and suffering a leg gash, and Key to the Empire, a maiden making his ninth start.

Tarrant hopes the stretch-out from 1 1/16 miles in the Jersey Derby sets up for The Cognac Kid’s closing style that carried the him to a 104-1 maiden upset win at the end of May.

“He’s feeling great,” Tarrant said. “I hope he’s back to the form where he circled the field and won.”

◗ Whoopi Kitten makes only her fourth start in the Miss Woodford, a race in which some rivals have already been to the post 10 or more times.

Circumstances conspired to keep her on the shelf. Whoopi Kitten didn’t like training on the synthetic tracks in California last year and the huge purses at Monmouth this season influenced trainer Patrick Biancone to delay her debut until May 29.

“She started late,” Biancone said. “She had trouble with her shins as a 2-year-old. She was just immature. She was ready to run at the end of March but then Monmouth published the new system with maiden specials for $75,000.”

Whoopi Kitten won at first asking and has run second in stakes in both subsequent starts.

“She’s learning, she’s starting to be more relaxed,” Biancone said. “This should be a good race for her.”