Arthur I. Appleton's homebred Icy Atlantic rolled to a 1 1/4-length and a quarter victory over Commendation in Monday's $100,00 Jersey Derby (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park.Icy Atlantic, a son of Stormy Atlantic trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Chuck Lopez, took command in midstretch and held off all challenges to complete the 1 1/16-mile test over a "good" turf course in 1:44 2/5. Commendation had three-quarters of a length over Grand Heritage for the place.The winner, who was scoring his third straight victory and second in a row on turf, paid $7.40, $3.40 and $2.20 across the board as the lukewarm 5-2 favorite in the field of seven 3-year-olds. He combined with Commendation ($3.80, $2.60), the narrow second choice also at 5-2, for a $30.80 exacta. Grand Heritage was $2.80 to show."On the far turn, against my better judgment, I decided to swing him out and go three or four wide," Lopez said. "It's better to be out there and running than stuck on the inside with nowhere to go."When he hit the front, he was just cruising. If someone came at him, I'm sure he would have hit the afterburners and took off again."Despite rainy weather Monday that held the crowd down, a total of 53,277 fans attended the races over the three-day holiday weekend to give Monmouth Park a rousing 2004 kickoff.In the day's second feature, Holiday Racing's Hostility captured the $60,000 Thomas J. Malley Stakes, which was run on the main track.In the Malley, originally scheduled for turf but run at five furlongs over a main track labeled "good," Hostility took over soon after the start and maintained a safe margin to the wire, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Hidden Ransom. Umpateedle was third in the field of six fillies and mares.
The winner, trained by Jose Gallegos and ridden by Luis Chavez, raced the distance in :56 4/5 and paid $7.20, $5 and $2.10 across the board. Hidden Ransom completed the $25.60 exacta.The 4-year-old filly by Devil His Due scored her first victory at Monmouth Park in four career starts. (Chart, Equibase)