Woody Stephens winner J Be K looks to add a third graded stakes to his resume.

Woody Stephens winner J Be K looks to add a third graded stakes to his resume.

Anne M. Eberhardt

J Be K Heads Jersey Shore at Monmouth

The son of Silver Deputy seeks his third graded stakes win July 4

Fresh off his 5 1/2-length romp in the June 7 Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II), Zayat Stables’ J Be K looks to add a third graded stakes to his résumé, as he takes on five rivals in the $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (gr. III) July 4 at Monmouth Park.

A 3-year-old son of Silver Deputy, J Be K is unbeaten in four career starts at distances of less than a mile. The Jersey Shore is a six-furlong sprint on the dirt. He will carry a top weight of 123 pounds.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, J Be K has practically gone gate-to-wire in all four of his wins, which also included a five-length score in the April 5 Bay Shore (gr. III) at Aqueduct. He broke his maiden last summer at Saratoga while setting the course record for 5 1/2 furlongs (1:03.13).

J Be K's only defeats in six starts came in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby (gr. II), when the colt finished eighth while learning that he was not a Triple Crown contender, and a runner-up finish in the one-mile Withers Stakes (gr. III) when Harlem Rocker put on a dazzling performance at Aqueduct.

Bred in Kentucky by Glory Days Breeding, J Be K is out of the Valid Wager mare Major Wager. He has worked twice since the Woody Stephens, both times at Belmont. The latest breeze was four furlongs in :50.12 June 30. Stewart Elliott will have the mount for the first time.

D. Wayne Lukas trainee Silver Edition, runner-up in the Woody Stephens, will try to improve enough to take down J Be K. The Silver Deputy--Sincerely colt came from off the pace in that seven-furlong contest, but was unable to make up ground on the leader in the stretch. Prior to the Woody Stephens, Silver Edition was defeated a neck in the six-furlong Hirsch Jacobs (gr. III) May 17 at Pimlico. His only two victories in 12 starts have come in maiden and allowance company.

“That other horse got away from us and our horse got a little intimidated on the inside,” Lukas said of the Stephens performance. “We weren’t going to beat him, but we might have been a little closer. We’re not making any excuses. We were happy to be second, and now we’ll come back and see if we can’t win the next one.”

Silver Edition, who was bred in Kentucky by Larry Johnson, turned in a bullet work June 18, stopping the clock in :47.70 for four furlongs. Eddie Castro will ride for the first time in the Jersey Shore.

The other logical one to consider is Indy Joe, a colt trained and co-owned by Mark Shuman. The son of Indy King enters off a one-length victory in the six-furlong Rumson Stakes May 31 on a muddy Monmouth surface. It was his first stakes score. Indy Joe was fourth, but beaten only 1 1/2 lengths, in the Hirsch Jacobs. Monmouth’s top rider Joe Bravo gets the assignment on the Florida-bred.

Rounding out the field are Jim and Susan Hill’s Bright Pick, who makes his conventional dirt debut; My Purple Haze Stables’ Fujita, entering off a two-length allowance score; and Bobby Hurley’s Go Go Shoot, the third-place finisher in the Rumson.

$150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 4:42 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, Six Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Go Go Shoot (FL), 121, Jose Lezcano
2. Bright Pick (KY), 119, Elvis Trujillo
3. Silver Edition (KY), 119, Eddie Castro
4. Fujita (MD), 117, David Cohen
5. J Be K (KY), 123, Stewart Elliott
6. Indy Joe (FL), 119, Joe Bravo