08/23/2008 11:00PM

Hystericalady has great shot at Pitcher repeat


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Hystericalady is a very happy camper, having settled in nicely at Monmouth Park.

Her coat is glowing, her appetite is excellent, and all systems are go in the bid for a repeat victory Sunday in the Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares.

"The most important thing is that she's happy right now," said Galen May, longtime assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer who accompanied the mare from Northern California to the Jersey Shore. "She is eating like she is supposed to. We are in very good shape."

The good news on the Hystericalady front is a bad development for her five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race. She won the Molly Pitcher by a commanding 6 1/4 lengths last year and her recent form has been outstanding, with a pair of dominant Grade 2 wins in the Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs and the Delaware Handicap on July 13.

"I never saw her run so easily as she did in Delaware," May said. "The jockey never hit her. He just sat there. I hope she doesn't get complacent."

Hollendorfer would settle for more of the same.

"She has been maintaining her form very well," Hollendorfer said. "Her last race was really good and hopefully she'll maintain that."

Garrett Gomez was aboard for the four-length victory at Delaware. Robby Albarado will ride on Sunday.

Hystericalady's most recent appearance at Monmouth was a memorable effort in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, where she lost by a neck to divisional champion Ginger Punch.

The New Jersey-bred Talkin About Love will try to upset the heavy favorite. The winner of the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks last summer, she ran poorly last time out in the Lady's Secret Stakes while battling by a respiratory infection.

"This is a very tough spot," said owner, trainer and breeder Kevin Sleeter. "Having won the Monmouth Oaks, I want to give her a chance in the Molly Pitcher."

Cowgirls Don't Cry was fourth to Ginger Punch last time out in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park. Prior to that, she rolled to a pacesetting win in Belmont's Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap.