Monmouth, Iselin Set for Ghost Sighting

By Pete Spanos--
Stronach Stables' top-weighted Ghostzapper will face a field of six competitors in Saturday's $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park.

Trained by Bobby Frankel and homebred by Frank Stronach's Adena Springs, the 4-year-old son of Awesome Again  stretches out for the first time around two turns, having won five of seven career starts at no longer than seven furlongs.

Ghostzapper comes across the Hudson River off strong consecutive graded stakes wins at Belmont Park -- the seven-furlong Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) on July 4, posting the year's highest Beyer Speed Figure on the dirt up to a mile (120), and a 6 1/2-length score in the Vosburgh (gr. I) on Sept. 27, 2003, which saw him deliver one of the most electrifying moves of last year.

The Kentucky-bred will carry 120 pounds.

Looking to do some ghost-busting will be the Pennsylvania-bred gelding, Presidentialaffair. Bred by Will Run Farm and owned by Edward Ciresa and Vincent Papapandrea, the 5-year-old son of Not For Love comes off consecutive victories himself -- both over the surface at Monmouth -- with a length win in the Salvatore Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth in his last start on July 25, and a 7 3/4-length score in the Skip Away Stakes on July 5.

Both wins came with jockey Stuart Elliott aboard and Elliott gets the call again.

Presidentialaffair, assigned to carry 117, is expected to be cross-entered in Sunday's Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at the lesser weight of 115. Trainer Marty Ciresa said he was, "leaning toward Monmouth. This is Ghostzapper's first race around two turns and he could be vulnerable."

Colita, by Grindstone, is a 4-year-old colt who looks to be up to the challenge and the distance. Owned by Team Valor Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, the Kentucky-bred Colita has been game in his last two efforts -- a 4 1/2-length win in an allowance contest at Belmont two starts back on July 4, and a neck second place finish under Pletcher favorite, John Velazquez in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Saratoga on July 28.

Colita will carry 114.

Puglisi Stables' Private Lap (Private Terms), bred in Kentucky by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, will also carry 114, with local hero Joe Bravo aboard for the trip from the outside seventh position.

S.A. Partnership's 7-year-old Country Be Gold (Summer Squall) makes his 47th career start and looks to add to his $663,667 in career earnings.

Sherpa Guide ( Ends Well ) and lightweight Zoffinger ( Unbridled ) round out the field.

Philip H. Iselin Handicap(gr. III), 3-year-olds and upward, 1 1/8 miles, $200,000, Saturday, Aug. 21 -- Approx. Post Time 4:47 EDT

PP -- Horse, Weight, Jockey

1 -- Zoffinger, 111, Jose Valez
2 -- Presidentialaffair, 117, Stewart Elliot
3 -- Country Be Gold, 113, Charles Lopez
4 -- Colita, 114, Eibar Coa
5 -- Ghostzapper, 120, Javier Castellano
6 -- Sherpa Guide, 113, Aaron Gryder
7 -- Private Lap, 114, Joe Bravo