Edited press release
Flower Alley headlines Saturday's $150,000 Salvator Mile (gr. III), the first graded stakes of Monmouth Park's 2006 season. It is the seasonal debut for the 4-year-old colt, who won the 2005 Travers Stakes (gr. I) and finished second to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Jim Ryerson-trained Park Avenue Ball, a New-Jersey bred, is also expected to compete. "We were pointing him for the Salvator all along," Ryerson said. "But he's really got to move forward off his last race."
The 4-year-old colt by Citidancer, bred and owned by Charles and Marianne Hesse, won the Frisk Me Now Stakes May 27 by a half-length over Network.
Todd Pletcher, who maintains a string at Monmouth Park, chose the Salvator Mile for Flower Alley's comeback because it fits his plans for the start of the horse's 4-year-old season.
Pletcher said even though he would have liked to keep Flower Alley home at Belmont Park, where he trains, the Monmouth race, which is one mile around two turns, was a good starting point.
"He's probably best suited for a middle distance race for his first start back," Pletcher said. "He's probably a better two-turn horse than a one-turn horse."