Include Tops Probable Field for Sunday's Iselin

From Monmouth Park
A field of six or seven older horses, including two based locally, are expected to contest Sunday's $350,000 Iselin Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles.

Robert E. Meyerhoff's Include is expected to be the starting highweight at 120 pounds, and the 5-year-old son of Broad Brush is expected to ship in from trainer Bud Delp's Maryland base on Saturday afternoon.

The Monmouth-based horses ready to take on the invaders are G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s First Lieutenant and Phantom House Farm's Gerosa.

First Lieutenant gets in at 114 pounds, and trainer Phil Oliver is looking forward to a good effort that will erase some bad memories. In his last start, the 5-year-old horse by Sea Hero finished first in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, but was disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed third.

"It was disappointing, that's for sure," Oliver said. "He came up to that race so well. But he's doing fine again now and ready to go. The race looks like it's coming up tough." First Lieutenant will be taking his second try at the Iselin. Last year he was a good second to Broken Vow, who was at his best at that point of the summer.

Trainer John Forbes is ready to give Gerosa another chance to prove his quality. The 5-year-old by Cherokee Run came into the July 27 Salvator Mile unbeaten in four starts, but finished seventh. He was shuffled back to last soon after breaking from his inside post, but made a big middle move to get within three lengths of the leaders, then was allowed to gallop out to the finish.

"The mile and an eighth will be more to his liking," said Pat McBurney, assistant to Forbes. "He's doing super right now, and he should have a better chance to show what he can do in the Iselin."

The others expected to contest the 67th running of the Iselin are Martin Schwartz's Bowman's Band, 117, and Edward P. Evans' Cat's at Home, 116. Possible starters include Grant, Grant & Kelly's Evening Attire, 115, McLauglin, Letty & Neal's Abreeze, 114, and Becher Stud's Sherpa Guide, 113.