10/25/2005 11:00PM

'Celestial' set to try first stakes


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Celestial Legend looks to extend her unbeaten streak to three Friday night in the $50,000 Holly Stakes at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

A six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, the Holly was originally scheduled for Oct. 22. It replaces the two $60,000 stakes slated for Friday: the Alysheba and the John Henry

The race office will try to gather enough entries to run the Alysheba on Saturday. The John Henry on the turf will be rescheduled next week, assuming the course dries out from recent heavy rain.

makes her stakes debut in the Holly and looks ready for the challenge following a 13-length allowance victory at Laurel last time out. Her Beyer Speed Figure progression has been impressive. She earned a 71 in the allowance after earning a 56 in her debut at Delaware Park.

With her front-running style, Celestial Legend will be tough to catch. Jeremy Rose rides Celestial Legend, who has turned in two bullet works at Laurel for trainer Dale Capuano since the last win.

While trainer Gary Contessa concedes Celestial Legend looks solid, he will use the race to get a better line on Primary Motive, who was an easy winner in her debut against New York-breds at Belmont Park.

"She's a nice filly and she won that race well in hand," Contessa said. "I think at this level of competition, we'll get a better line on where we are."

Contessa said he expects progress from Primary Motive, who earned a 51 Beyer in the victory.

"I think she was maybe 65 percent ready," Contessa said. "I don't really like to crank my youngsters before they run. I'd rather have them improve through racing."

drew the rail in the seven-horse field, and Joe Bravo will ride.

Speeding Ticket and Love Comes First are an entry from trainer Kate DeMasi, and both come out of victories at Philadelphia Park. Speeding Ticket won her maiden in her third attempt, drawing off to a 5 3/4-length win. Love Comes First is 2 for 3, having won an allowance race in the slop by 3 3/4 lengths.

tried turf last time in the Big M's Salem County Stakes, where she was seventh. She has a win, a second, and a third in three dirt starts, all for trainer Dennis Manning.