07/03/2006 11:00PM

Breen's trio of good babies

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Kelly Breen, bidding for a second straight training title at Monmouth Park, has developed a solid trio of unbeaten 2-year-old fillies this season: Desire to Excel, Eternal Grace, and Heckuva Good Time.

Desire to Excel is the most advanced with victories in two starts, including the $109,500 Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park on July 2 as the longest shot in the field at 24-1.

The price was very tempting.

"The betting window was calling me," Breen said.

He resisted, succumbing to a moment of doubt.

"I thought maybe my handicapping is bad, maybe I should be rooting to just hit the board," Breen said. "Maybe I'm just totally outclassed."

Despite not having run since mid- April, Desire to Excel pulled away to a five-length victory to earn a very sharp Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

That same afternoon, Eternal Grace debuted at Monmouth and scored a 2 3/4-length win.

Heckuva Good Time won her debut with statebreds by eight lengths on June 28 to launch a victorious five-day span for Breen's fillies.

Breen had high hopes for all three but uncertainty remained until they ran.

"Everybody has babies in their barn and we run our best against their best," Breen said. "What they're going to do, nobody knows. Knock on wood, we've been successful right now. It doesn't always happen that way. It could be the beginning of a great summer."

Breen is not sure where the three fillies will run next. The goal is to keep them separated for now in an effort to divide and conquer.

"I've been around 2-year-olds enough to have some success and come up with game plans," Breen said.

The $60,000 Colleen Stakes here on July 30 is under consideration; so are the 2-year-old stakes at Saratoga.

Hatch back from long layoff

Hatch returns from a lengthy layoff Thursday in a $40,000 second-level allowance on the turf.

Hatch started his career in Europe, where he was 2 for 14. He made his lone U.S. start on Nov. 24, 2004, at Calder, a race in which he got bumped and steadied in the early stages before rallying to get fourth.

Trainer Phil Oliver planned to run Hatch here last summer, but the gelding suffered a leg injury that wiped out the entire season.

Now 5, Hatch launches the comeback against six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race.

"He's been off a year and he's come back good," Oliver said. "He's been breezing good. I like him."

The layoff, of course, factors heavily in how well he will run.

"He might come up a little short, but I think he'll run decent," Oliver said. "I think he's a nice horse. I'd say he's about 80 percent fit right now. I'd rather run him than keep breezing him."

Bestowed and Fiscal Storm should have a fitness advantage. Bestowed ran third in a third-level New York-bred allowance race on May 29 at Belmont Park. That was his first start since a fifth-place finish here last August in the Choice Stakes.

Fiscal Storm has run third in both his starts this season, second-level allowance races at Pimlico and Delaware Park.

Davy Jones and Gadget Man both won claiming races last time out. Davy Jones rallied here to beat $20,000 claimers, while Gadget Man carried a $35,000 tag when he got up by a neck at the Meadowlands.

Forli's Con Man shows only one third in six grass starts but will give the turf another go.