07/25/2009 12:00AM

Tyro: Speed vs. experience

Closing Vision earns his maiden victory at Philadelphia Park. He has since worked solidly.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - The road to the Sapling at Monmouth Park starts Sunday with the $65,000 Tyro Stakes.

The 5 1/2-furlong Tyro is a prep for Monmouth's premier 2-year-old event, the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes on Sept. 5.

The Tyro attracted seven runners, but only five will start. Four will be facing winners for the first time. None has raced at Monmouth.

The Sapling and D. Wayne Lukas are tightly entwined. The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Sapling a record eight times, and he might have a candidate for this year's renewal if Westrock Gold runs well in the Tyro.

A $200,000 yearling purchase last summer, Westrock Gold debuted at Churchill Downs in late May, rallying to get third. He got the maiden win next time out before taking an ambitious leap into the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes, where he ran sixth.

Westrock Gold should benefit from that effort as the only runner in this field with stakes experience. Westrock Gold will be the first starter at the meet for Lukas, who is importing Jamie Theriot to ride.

Using Beyer Speed Figures as a guide, El Rocco will be the one to catch. The colt, trained by Bruce Levine, was a debut winner at Philadelphia Park with a Beyer Figure of 76.

Tim Kelly, who sends out Closing Vision, was impressed by El Rocco's performance.

"He showed a lot of gas at Philadelphia Park," Kelly said.

Closing Vision also got his maiden win at Philly Park, drawing off by 8 1/2 lengths at 4 1/2 furlongs.

"It was a great effort," Kelly said. "He did it easy. He was only challenged for three-eighths of a mile, and then he just drew off. He could have won by 15 if the jock let him roll."

Since that win on June 9, Closing Vision has had two solid breezes here.

"He's been working super," Kelly said. "He hasn't done anything wrong since that race. There just weren't any places to run. I wanted to run him a little bit further, but the one-mile turf race didn't go here.That's why he hasn't run in a while, but he's ready to roll now."

Trainer Tim Salzman entered Good Wine and Work for a Cure but scratched both runners from the race Friday.

Phil's Prospect and Dahlgren Chapel complete the field.