J Be K will be hard to deny
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- "Smashing" is a strong adjective to describe to J Be K's victory in the Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park.
"I like that word," said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "He ran a smashing race."
For an encore, J Be K heads to Monmouth Park on Friday for the Grade 3, $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds.
He faces five rivals in the six-furlong race that kicks off a stakes-filled holiday weekend at Monmouth.
J Be K, the 5-2 favorite in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, figures to be an even shorter-price choice here following that 5 1/2-length victory and a win two races earlier in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct.
Sandwiched between the wins was a second-place effort behind Harlem Rocker, unbeaten in three races this season, in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct. J Be K earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in all three stakes.
The Jersey Shore will be shortest distance J Be K has run since capturing a first-level allowance at Fair Grounds in February.
"I don't think it's a big concern, I certainly hope not," Sheets said of the cutback. "He's doing well. We look for him to perform well and run his race."
Stewart Elliott will ride.
Silver Edition, the runner-up in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens, is back for another try. In his prior race, Silver Edition also finished second, missing by only a neck in the Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes at Pimlico.
"I think his last couple merit a chance here," said Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "He's doing well and he seems to be improving. He's gaining maturity and he's starting to put it all together."
Eddie Castro gets the mount.
Indy Joe, fourth in the Hirsch Jacobs, rebounded to win Monmouth's Rumson Stakes in the mud.
Go Go Shoot is the only Jersey Shore horse based at Monmouth. He was third in the Rumson as the 9-5 favorite.
Bright Pick comes down from Canada for trainer Reade Baker. A former claimer, Bright Pick pressed the pace and held on for fourth most recently in the Tall Ships Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.
Fujita, 3 for 4 this year for trainer Todd Pletcher, makes his second stakes appearance. He was third in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs.
* The Choice Stakes for 3-year-olds on the grass, the scheduled supporting event, did not fill and has been rescheduled for Saturday.