09/04/2004 12:00AM

Breen out on limb with Absolute Nectar


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Kelly Breen offers this advice for bettors pondering the $55,000 Candy Eclair Stakes Monday at Monmouth Park.

"Absolute Nectar is the absolute choice," he said.

Absolute Nectar has Breen brimming with confidence as she makes her Monmouth turf debut in the five-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies.

California-trainer Doug O'Neill shipped Absolute Nectar to Breen's care in July. She has run twice in stakes here, finishing third both times. Absolute Nectar was a half-length behind Smokey Glacken in the off-the-turf Trenton in the slop and most recently set the pace under pressure in the Miss Woodford.

"I have been told she is a better horse on the turf," said Breen.

Absolute Nectar made starts in three consecutive turf sprints at Hollywood Park before heading east to Monmouth. She had a win and a close second for a claiming tag of $62,500 and ran seventh in the Manhattan Beach Stakes.

Leading jockey Joe Bravo rides for the first time.

Very Vegas, the Manhattan Beach runner-up, is also in the field. She most recently finished fourth in the Trenton and has joined Eddie Coletti's barn at Philadelphia Park.

Jose C. Ferrer will ride.

Wildcat Heir goes for first stakes

Wildcat Heir has made two widely spaced stakes starts and finished second in both.

As a 2-year-old, he was the runner-up in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga. Now 4, Wildcat Heir most recently was a rallying second in the Teddy Drone on the Haskell Day undercard.

In between, Wildcat Heir ran four times with two wins and two seconds to stamp himself as one to watch in the sprint ranks. He bids for his initial stakes score in the $60,000 Icecapade at six furlongs.

"He has a lot of talent," said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. "We always thought he could fit with these kind of horses. You have to have the talent and the performance readiness to beat good horses."

The race will be a good test for Wildcat Heir and has attracted a solid group of sprinters, including Don Six, recent winner of the MoBay Stakes at Delaware Park; Outstander, who took the Woolums Memorial last time out at Colonial Downs; Sing Me Back Home, who captured Monmouth's off-the-turf Decathlon Stakes; and True Direction, the winner of the 2002 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Laszlo receives Raines Award

Owner-breeder Janet Laszlo has been named the recipient of Monmouth's 2004 Virgil "Buddy" Raines Distinguished Achievement Award.

The Raines Award, instituted at Monmouth in 1996, honors men and women who have demonstrated a commitment to Thoroughbred racing as an owner or trainer, and whose conduct has been exemplary for professionalism, integrity, and service to the sport.

Laszlo is the ninth recipient of the Raines Award, following J. Willard Thompson (1996), Danny Perlsweig (1997), Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll (1998), Joe Pierce Jr. (1999), Peter Shannon (2000), Dennis Drazin (2001), Sam Fieramosca (2002), and Charles and Marianne Hesse (2003).

* The Pennsylvania Derby Monday will deplete the Monmouth jockey colony, as three regular riders have mounts: Stewart Elliott (My Snookies Boy), Chuck Lopez (Pies Prospect), and Eibar Coa (Master David).