06/02/2009 12:00AM

Hot barn sends out fresh mare


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The winter at Tampa Bay Downs did a world of good for most of the horses in Jane Cibelli's barn.

Cibelli has started strongly at Monmouth Park, going 6-2-3 with her first 15 runners to lead the early trainer standings. She hopes to keep the momentum rolling with her lone entrant on Thursday, Diamond Dina in a third-level optional $50,000 claimer for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf.

"You have to be realistic," Cibelli said of the fast start. "Some have been maidens ready to win. Their next races will be tougher as you jump a condition. The other big factor is coming out of Tampa. That track down there really does leg a horse up. You don't miss many days of training with adverse weather conditions. They come out of there fit, quite honestly."

Dancing Dina also comes out of Tampa well rested, having last raced in late January. The 5-year-old Dancing Dina ran twice in Florida, finishing eighth both times.

"That turf course isn't really to her liking," Cibelli said. "It favors horses that come off the pace. She's not a deep closer and that really didn't help her. She had run some big races here and she was a little tired and knocked out. We really couldn't get her quite right in Tampa. That's a filly that really didn't handle the sandy-based track."

Cibelli freshened the mare, with an eye toward Monmouth, where Diamond Dina uncorked two big races last summer: a third-level allowance win followed by a third in the Revidere Stakes.

Diamond Dina seems happy to be back in New Jersey, based on consecutive five-furlong bullet works in preparation for her return.

"She seems to be doing much, much better," Cibelli said.

Diamond Dina carries the $50,000 claiming tag with Jose Velez, Jr. set to ride.

The British-bred Rosa Grace rallied for second last summer in her U.S. debut, the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga. She hasn't approached that level in her two races since, both at Keeneland.

Joe Bravo will be aboard the 4-year-old for trainer Christophe Clement.

Trainer John R.S. Fisher, the winner on Saturday of the Wolf Hill Stakes with standout grass sprinter Smart Enough, returns from Maryland with Opera Heroine. Also in for $50,000, Opera Heroine missed by only a neck in her lone race here last summer.