06/23/2004 11:00PM

Value Plus, Pomeroy seek rebound


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Value Plus and Pomeroy, two 3-year-olds looking to regroup, headline the Grade 3, $100,000 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The two colts possess the most extensive stakes experience in the five-horse field. Both head for Monmouth in search of a confidence-restoring victory.

Value Plus, trained by Todd Pletcher at Belmont Park, looks to rebound from a disappointing effort in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

A gray son of Unbridled's Song, Value Plus pressed the pace in the seven-furlong Riva Ridge and was carried out in the stretch before fading to sixth as the 6-5 favorite.

The Riva Ridge was Value Plus's first start since finishing sixth, also as the favorite, in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.

The last two races dimmed some of the luster Value Plus accumulated over the winter as a Triple Crown prospect at Gulfstream Park.

He started the year with a strong allowance victory and followed that up with a brave second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

The Jersey Shore teams Value Plus, with Eibar Coa. Value Plus's main obstacle is Pomeroy, back for a return visit to the Jersey shore.

"Value Plus is a tough cookie," said Patrick Biancone, Pomeroy's trainer.

So is Pomeroy, at this track.

Pomeroy won his maiden at first asking last June at Belmont and journeyed down to Monmouth for an 11 1/2-length allowance win in the slop. "He loves Monmouth Park," said Biancone.

Pomeroy concluded the season with a second in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and a win in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park.

Pomeroy has run twice this year, running second in the one-mile Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and fourth in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles.

"The Lexington might have been a little long," said Biancone. "He can be very competitive at seven-eighths [of a mile] and perhaps up to a mile."

Pomeroy has trained sensationally at Saratoga since the Lexington, recording bullets in two of his last four workouts. Joe Bravo, Monmouth's leading rider, has the mount.

Gotaghostofachance, a winner of three straight at Delaware Park, Dandoon, and Midnight Express complete the field.

* The Saturday card also includes the $60,000 Goldfinch Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards.

Assaggini returns to the statebred ranks after reeling off six straight wins at Philadelphia Park.