08/22/2005 11:00PM

Beautiful East set to get over hump

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - It has been a summer of steady progress for Beautiful East at Monmouth Park, and the payoff might finally be at hand Thursday in the featured $51,000 allowance for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares.

While some horses tear through their conditions, Beautiful East has set a more deliberate course. This will be her fourth shot at the second-level allowance class. She has improved her Beyer Speed Figures in each of those races, going from a 54 to a career-best 76 last time out.

In her best effort of the season, Beautiful East, a 4-year-old, was a rallying second behind Summer Sting, who pulled away to a five-length win.

"It seems every time we were in this race there were a couple of tough fillies that had just broke their maidens and knocked out an other-than allowance," said trainer Kathleen DeMasi. "It seems like we're slowly moving up the ranks. We were a good second last time to a runaway winner."

In contrast to Beautiful East, Spirit of Splendor and Deliciously are a pair of 3-year-olds looking for rapid advancement.

Spirit of Splendor has the rail and plenty of early speed. Breaking from the outside last time, Spirit of Splendor got away well, set the pace, and drew away to victory for trainer Jason Servis. She got a career-best Beyer of 76, tying Beautiful East for the best last-race figure.

Deliciously hasn't missed a beat this year for trainer Kelly Breen. She has two wins in two starts at the meet, drawing away to win her maiden in her season debut and coming right back to score an allowance win. The only knocks against Deliciously are her Beyers - her best figure is a 71.

Storm Hen has been a model of consistency for trainer John Tammaro III. She has earned either a 68 or a 69 Beyer in each of her last four outings. Those steady performances have produced a couple of in-the-money finishes but haven't put her close to a victory.

Pickin Laurel added blinkers in her most recent start and was never a factor. Trainer Kevin Sleeter will remove the blinkers in this spot.

Key to Love, a 5-year-old mare, is easily the career earnings leader in the race, with $212,420.

* Joe Bravo met with doctors Tuesday and was told he needs another 10 to 14 days of rest to heal the collarbone he broke in a spill at Monmouth on July 21.