10/24/2007 11:00PM

Off the turf ideal for Forest Park

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. – Mud-loving Forest Park won the $100,000 Monmouth University Stakes on muddy, chill Thursday afternoon at Monmouth Park, where the main track was sloppy and races – including the Monmouth University – were taken off the turf.

Off-the-turf was in fact ideal for Forest Park, who ran his wet-track record to 6-4-1-0 with a game victory over Joey P., part of a favored Ben Perkins-trained entry with John’s Pic, who wound up sixth. Forest Park, a Mike Pino-trained 6-year-old with 27 career starts, had never before tried grass, and it’s safe to say his connections shed no tears over the move to the main track.

“As soon as it started raining, we were like, oh God, that’s what we want to see,” said winning rider Kendrick Carmouche.

Forest Park ($11.20), pressed pace-setting Charley’s Diamond through fractions of 22.16 for the opening quarter-mile and 44.85 to the half, and took over at the top of the stretch. Joey P., three wide around the turn, came up to challenge at the eighth pole, but Forest Park turned him back, with Charley’s Diamond holding third.

* Pure Disco ($5) led from start to finish under Chuck Lopez to win the $100,000 Revidere by one length in another stakes race rained off turf and onto the sloppy main track. Favored Delicate Dynamite, a closer, never really had a chance, and Lopez backed up the pace on Pure Disco. The half-mile split went in a moderate 48.82 seconds, and Pure Disco never was seriously threatened. Time for the one and one-sixteenth miles was 1:43.68, with Jenny Bean Girl home third.

* Frank the Barber’s win in the New Jersey-bred Garden State Handicap demonstrated that closers may after all not be hopeless in Breeders’ Cup races on the main track. It was hard for stretch-runners to pass horses here on Wednesday, but Frank the Barber ($6) was one of several horses to win from well off the pace on a sloppy, sealed racetrack. Ridden by David Flores, he was two and one-quarter lengths better than favored Fagedaoudit Sal, who nosed out Bonding for second.