Musket Man has finished worse than third in 13 starts.

Musket Man has finished worse than third in 13 starts.

Don Haines/Tom Cooley Photography

No Pushovers in Short Monmouth Cup Field

The Monmouth Cup has attracted a small field that's long on quality.

A small but select—and extremely competitive—field of six has been entered for the $300,000 Monmouth Cup (gr. II) at Monmouth Park Oct. 9.

The Monmouth Cup, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, is the renamed Meadowlands Cup. Meadowlands won’t be offering fall Thoroughbred racing this year.

Favoritism could go in several directions, including that of Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man, who in his last start finished a solid third behind Blame  and Quality Road  in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. Musket Man, winner of two graded Triple Crown preps last year as a 3-year-old, hasn’t raced at Monmouth but has trained at the New Jersey track for conditioner Derek Ryan.

Musket Man, a Kentucky-bred by Yonaguska, has fared quite well at longer distances and never has finished worse than third in 13 starts.

Etched is seeking a “repeat” of sorts, having won the 2009 Meadowlands Cup for owner Darley Stable. The speedy 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Forestry won the Sept. 12 Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth as the heavy favorite in his first race of the year.

Etched, a lightly raced horse, has won six of eight starts from 2007 to 2010.

Duke of Mischief  enters the Monmouth Cup off a strong victory in the Aug. 21 Philip Iselin Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth. Second-place finisher Redding Colliery returned to win.

The lone 3-year-old in the field is Ice Box , who has squared off against the top 3-year-old colts this season.

$300,000 Monmouth Cup (gr. II, Race 10, 4:58 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Musket Man (KY) E Coa 119 D S Ryan
2. Duke of Mischief (FL) P Lopez 123 D Fawkes
3. Ice Box (KY) C C Lopez 118 N P Zito
4. Dry Martini (FL) J Bravo 119 B Tagg
5. Chirac (FL) E Trujillo 119 J Cibelli
6. Etched (KY) E Castro 123 K P McLaughlin