08/10/2005 12:00AM

Golden Locket could use extra week

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Ready and Alluring is expected for Sunday's Grade 3 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Vicki Oliver worries that the Grade 3, $200,000 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks on Sunday comes a little too soon for Golden Locket.

The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies tops Monmouth's weekend stakes action.

Golden Locket was a game winner of Monmouth's Serena's Song Stakes on July 24. The filly has never been worse than second this year in six starts, and owns a pair of wins.

"I question coming back a little quicker than I'd like," Oliver said. "She breezed well. Hopefully, if it doesn't come up too tough, we'll run."

Golden Locket went four furlongs in 49 seconds Tuesday in preparation for her graded-stakes debut.

Golden Locket's ability to handle two turns was in question until the Serena's Song, because she had been outfinished in her first route race.

"We tried it one more time and, actually, this time it was easy for her," Oliver said. "She puts so much into her races that I'd like to have one more week."

Also expected for the Oaks, according to Monmouth stakes coordinator Mike Melendez, are Culinary, the winner of last year's Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie; Canadian-bred Ready and Alluring, who captured the Labatt Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie last time out; Shebelongstoyou, a commanding allowance winner at Monmouth; and Toll Taker, who captured the off-the-turf Boiling Springs Stakes earlier in the meet.

The $60,000 Rumson for 3-year-old sprinters is the supporting stakes on Sunday.

Wildcat Heir pointing for BC Sprint

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. wants to get Wildcat Heir to the Breeders' Cup Sprint but is not sure which path to take.

In his first start since capturing the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial in November, Wildcat Heir won the Teddy Drone Stakes on the Haskell Day undercard. He looked great, running the six furlongs in 1:08.59 while drawing off to a 5 3/4-length victory.

"He came out of it fine," Perkins said. "We were real happy with his race."

Perkins is playing catch-up. Wildcat Heir missed most of this year with a foot injury in Florida and a ligament injury in New Jersey.

Perkins has targeted the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park on Oct. 1 as Wildcat Heir's final prep for the Breeders' Cup, which comes four weeks later, also at Belmont.

The dilemma: Where to run before the Vosburgh?

"It's surprising, but there are not a lot of options," Perkins said. "I don't know that we want to run him seven-eighths. We're trying to keep him at six furlongs."

That rules out the seven-furlong Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 3. Perkins might go all the way to Chicago for the six-furlong $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Stakes on Aug. 27.

"I went through the stakes book," Perkins said. "It's the only race, but it's a long way to go. That race is possible. Other than that, we're scratching our heads."

Another option is to train Wildcat Heir up to the Vosburgh. "It certainly looked Sunday that he likes to run fresh," Perkins said.

Either surface fine for Choose

Choose is not picky. Turf or dirt, either works well for the 4-year-old.

Choose is on target for the $55,000 Sneakbox Stakes at five furlongs on the grass, the Saturday feature at Monmouth.

His last two races, both at Monmouth, came off the turf. Choose was a front-running winner of the Wolf Hill Stakes and, most recently, chased Tacirring to a second-place finish in the John McSorley Stakes.

"He's coming up to this race feeling pretty happy with himself," said Pat McBurney, the assistant to trainer John Forbes. "He handled the grass so well in Florida, either way is fine. It doesn't hurt our feelings if it comes off."

Choose got his first grass experience this spring at Gulfstream. He dead-heated for the win with Tacirring in an allowance race before bobbling at the start of the Yankee Affair Stakes.

Even a clean break might not have helped that day, as Procreate set the world record of 53.79 seconds in his victory.

"The key is getting away good," McBurney said. "When he breaks good, he's awful tough."

Other likely runners, according to Melendez, include Freedom's Honor, Procreate, Scattering Breezes, So Gifted, and Yankee Wildcat.

* Friday's $41,000 second-level allowance feature for fillies and mares has a strong New Jersey feel. Four of the seven runners in the six-furlong race were bred in the Garden State, including Dressed for Succes from trainer Patrick Biancone. She ran a 79 Beyer Figure, the best last-race number, while finishing third in the Goldfinch Handicap for statebreds.