09/07/2005 11:00PM

Habiboo looking to finish career strong


The racing days are down to a precious few for Habiboo. Owner and trainer Amy Tarrant will retire Habiboo at the end of this season, leaving only a handful of races to go, including the $60,000 Lighthouse Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards Saturday at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old filly, Habiboo has run only five times this year, including a fifth in the Lady's Secret Stakes on Monmouth's Haskell Day undercard. She has battled some respiratory problems, and Tarrant is trying to send her off on a winning note.

Depending on what happens Saturday, Tarrant said she will either retire Habiboo or run her once more on the turf at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

is 4-1-4 in 15 career starts. A third-place finish in last year's Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks was one of her best moments.

"She's a lovely mare, and she's been really good to us," Tarrant said. "I don't want to take too many chances with her."

Palaestra is running in the Lighthouse because a stakes win would increase her value.

"For the owner, Robert Clay, it would certainly help her commercial value," said trainer John Kimmel.

has thrived at Monmouth this summer, scoring two wins and a second in four starts. Her lone poor effort of the season was a ninth on the yielding turf in the second grass start of her career.

missed by a neck on the turf last time out in the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga. Trained by Bill Mott, she has won stakes on turf and dirt.

Both North American victories by Aesculus have come on the main track. Aesculus, who began her career in Europe, pulled away to a two-length win in an off-the-turf allowance race contested in the Monmouth mud in early June.

Freeroll also captured an off-the turf contest last time out at Monmouth, in late June, when she snapped a 10-race losing streak with a seven-length win in a four-horse field.

Plata failed to hit the board for the first time in her six-race career in the Lady's Secret. She raced close to the pace and was only a head off the lead in the stretch before tiring to sixth.

Completing the field are Grab Bag, Ballroom Deputy, Becky in Pink, Emerald Earrings, and Freei.