06/04/2002 11:00PM

Toribio decides to summer at the Shore


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Only three weeks removed from a three-month riding stint in Saudi Arabia, veteran rider Abdiel Toribio will make Monmouth Park his summer home for the first time. Toribio's main base had been at Calder since he arrived in the United States in 1991.

Although Toribio, 30, will be riding full-time here for the first time this summer, he is no stranger to Monmouth and the mid-Atlantic circuit. He rode for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. at Delaware Park in 1998, and even won the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth that year aboard the Perkins-trained Delaware Township, who eventually became an accomplished Grade 1 sprinter.

Toribio, a native of Panama, rode first call for New Farm, one of Perkins's main owners, at Delaware that year and recorded 66 wins at the meet. Toribio was supposed to ride at Delaware again this year, but he and agent Joe Burdo decided to shift to Monmouth more than a week ago.

Toribio made his summer debut here in the first race last Sunday and rode two races Wednesday. Toribio arrived at Monmouth a week ago and has been active in the mornings exercising horses, especially for Perkins.

Toribio rode for three months at the Al-Janadriyah racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from mid-February through mid-May. He said the stint was very successful.

"It was a new experience, but I was very happy with my time there," Toribio said. "They only race once a week. I did very well and won a couple of Cups."

Toribio said he has been riding horses for 14 years, and his first year of professional riding came in 1990 in Panama. That year, his last before coming to the U.S., Toribio said he set a record for wins by an apprentice with 226. He came to the U.S. the following year and began riding at Calder. His career in the U.S. has included two riding titles at Hialeah, and he has consistently been one of the top riders in south Florida. Toribio's last ride at Calder before shifting his tack here was a victory in the $105,000 Calder Breeders' Cup Handicap aboard Jennasietta for trainer Ralph Ziadie.

Toribio will ride first call for trainer Norman Pointer, according to Burdo. He will also be picking up mounts for Perkins.

Lavoy breaks collarbone in spill

Jockey Rachel Lavoy is expected to miss four to six weeks of racing action with a broken collarbone sustained in a spill in Wednesday's second race.

According to Dr. Angelo Chinnici, Nick Santagata, the other jockey involved in the accident, escaped with only some bruises.

Raire Cliffs, with Lavoy aboard, clipped heels and fell around the clubhouse turn, causing Non Commital and Santagata to fall as well. The race was on the turf course with the rails set 30 feet out; the accident occurred in the same spot as the spill that caused Joe Bravo to suffer a broken wrist last Thursday.

Neither horse was seriously injured in the incident.

Colton shifts tack from Delaware

Jockey Robert Colton, a long-time regular on the mid-Atlantic circuit, will begin riding here Saturday, according to his new agent, Danny Mellul. Mellul had Joe Bravo's book before he was injured.

Colton, who has been riding at Delaware Park, has shipped into Monmouth for stakes races over the years, and he was brought in last year to ride when Bravo was injured. He won one race in seven starts at Monmouth last summer.

Mellul said Colton should pick up the majority of the mounts that Bravo would have had.

Iselin long-range goal for John Little

John Little returned to the track for the first time Wednesday since finishing fifth, only beaten about 3 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 2 Mass Cap last Saturday at Suffolk Downs. John Little had an easy jog around the track, and trainer Debbie Bodner said the 4-year-old has come out of his biggest race to date in perfect shape.

New Jersey-bred John Little, winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct two starts back, was stepping up to face a Grade 1-caliber field for the first time in his career. Bodner said she was happy with his performance.

"I thought he ran good," she said. "He was going a little sideways near the wire and that might have cost him a better finish. But he showed he can compete with that type of group."

John Little, who had two wins at Monmouth last year, ran mainly against statebred competition last year before jumping up to the graded-stakes level at Aqueduct in the winter with amazing success.

Bodner, who bred and owns John Little, said he would make his next start at Monmouth, although she has not picked out a race yet. Bodner has said that the Grade 2 Iselin is the main goal for John Little this summer.

Cat's at Home launches comeback

Cat's at Home, winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup and Grade 3 Westchester Handicap last year, makes his 2002 debut in the eighth race Friday. The feature, a $45,000 money allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of six allowance and stakes horses.

Cat's at Home, a 5-year-old, has been training very well over the Monmouth strip for trainer Mark Hennig, who has a stable here for the first time. Cat's at Home last ran on Dec. 1 in the Queens County Handicap at Aqueduct.

K.O.'s Crypto, Top Bunk, Testing, Durmiente, and Mike's Thunder complete the field.

Key Lory preps for Oceanport

Key Lory, the top handicap turf horse on the grounds, worked a half-mile in 50 seconds Wednesday in preparation for the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap on June 15.

Key Lory, an 8-year-old trained by Dennis Manning, is 4 for 4 on the turf, including an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Red Bank on Memorial Day weekend.

He won the Oceanport last year, which was his first turf start. All his turf wins have come in stakes and on the lead gate to wire.