A pair of New Jersey-bred runners continue to march toward Sunday's Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park, with Park Avenue Ball getting his final work on Tuesday morning and Joey P. now confirmed for the race according to his trainer.Park Avenue Ball worked five furlongs in 1:00 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13, according to Jim Ryerson, who conditions Park Avenue Ball for the Char-Mari Stable. "It was a good work. He went in company with a horse named Bad Rep."
Park Avenue Ball earned a bullet for the work, the fastest of ten horses going the five furlong distance. Chris DeCarlo, who will ride on Sunday, was aboard for Tuesday's work. Park Avenue Ball earned a bullet work on July 10, just six days before dominating the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes."He'll gallop up to the race now," Ryerson said. "He's doing great and is ready for Sunday."
Park Avenue Ball has a record of 3-1-0 from four Monmouth Park starts and a lifetime record of 4-3-0 from ten tries. The 3-year-old colt by Citidancer produced from the Cahill Road mare Road to the Ball, broke his maiden at first asking here last summer, and followed that up with a win in the Tyro. He was then second in the Sapling, before taking the grade II Futurity at Belmont Park. He capped his 2-year-old campaign with a fifth place finish in the Champagne (gr. I) at Belmont.
Park Avenue Ball kicked off his 3-year-old season with a runner-up performance in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream and was then sixth in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and then fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I) all at the same track. Prior to his Long Branch romp he was runner-up in the Withers (gr. III) at Aqueduct, beaten a length by Scrappy T.
Park Avenue Ball will be joined by Joey P., a fellow New Jersey-bred in Sunday's 1 1/8-mile race.
"We're going to go," said Frank Costa, who trains Joey P. for owner John Petrini. "Aaron Gryder will ride. He'll get a tune up tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. He's fit. He's had four races here this year. He's ready to go."
Joey P. had an undefeated streak of five wins snapped in his last, beaten three-quarters in his first try around two turns.
Prior to that the gelding by Close Up captured the Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and won a pair of allowance races here. Last season, he broke his maiden and won an allowance event. All six of the horse's career starts have come at Monmouth Park.
Park Avenue Ball and Joey P. are looking to become just the second New Jersey-bred to win the Haskell, following in the footsteps of Thanks to Tony, who won the race in 1980 with local rider Carlos Lopez Sr. in the irons.
In addition to Park Avenue Ball and Joey P., other likely starters include Chekhov, Indy Storm, Papi Chullo and Roman Ruler.
Others considered possible for Sunday's race are Devilment, High Limit, Magna Graduate, Palladio, and Golden Man, who came back to run second in the Leonard Richards at Delaware Park just one day after finishing third in the Long Branch.