08/11/2005 11:00PM

Bayou Breeze back at Shore for more


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Bayou Breeze, a game stakes winner in her Monmouth Park debut, returns to the Jersey Shore on Sunday for the Grade 3, $200,000 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks.

The 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Oaks is positioned less than a week before the Grade 1 Alabama, the premier race of the summer for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, which will be run Saturday.

While the 1 1/4-mile Alabama traditionally attracts the division leaders, the Monmouth Oaks gives such fillies as Bayou Breeze a chance to snare a graded stakes in less demanding company.

A Stronach Stables filly, has 3 wins and 3 seconds in 6 starts this year. She is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

She won Monmouth's ungraded Revidere Stakes on June 4 on a muddy track in her stakes debut. It was not an easy win. Bayou Breeze overcame a stumble at the break and beat Grade 1 winner Sense of Style by a nose.

"She's trained really well, and we're looking forward to going back there," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin considered the Alabama because, he said, "we believe she'd like the mile and a quarter."

Stronach Stables, however, has Black-Eyed Susan winner Spun Sugar, trained by Todd Pletcher, pointed for the Alabama, which freed Bayou Breeze for a return to Monmouth.

Bayou Breeze last ran more than two months ago, but McLaughlin isn't concerned.

"She ran hard last time and we were looking for a good spot," McLaughlin said. "We looked at the Coaching Club American Oaks [July 23 at Belmont Park], but Spun Sugar was headed there. After that, we concentrated on the Monmouth Oaks."

The Monmouth Oaks has long been a goal for Toll Taker, who is trained by Tim Hills.

"It's always a short field for good money at a funny time on the calendar," Hills said. "The Alabama takes out the top fillies."

Hills hopes to get Toll Taker her first graded-stakes win this year. She won Monmouth's Boiling Springs Stakes on May 29, but the race lost its Grade 3 status when it came off the turf.

ran second to Golden Locket last time out in the Serena's Song, Monmouth's prep for the Oaks.

"Toll Taker is good to go," Hills said. "She breezed easy and, we're going to try and turn the tables on Golden Locket."

Toll Taker went four furlongs in 50 seconds on Wednesday at Monmouth.

Golden Locket, fresh from her first two-turn victory, faces graded company for the first time.