06/09/2010 12:00AM

Karmageddon aiming to relax in sprint

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - The stumble, while subtle, was just enough to get Karmageddon on the bit and off her game, as she finished third in her season debut.

With a cleaner break, Karmageddon should be very tough Friday in the $82,000 second-level allowance feature for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. She has post 5 against 11 rivals in the six-furlong race, the second start of her 3-year-old campaign.

Karmageddon finished 2009 on a two-race winning streak that concluded with a victory in the filly division of the New Jersey Juvenile at the Meadowlands, earning her statebred divisional honors.

Based on that strong finish, Karmageddon was the 3-2 favorite on May 23 as she kicked off the new year with John Velazquez aboard.

"She broke so hard, the ground broke underneath her," trainer Doug Nunn said. "Johnny picked her back up and when he did, she's the kind of horse you can't grab. As soon as you pick the reins up, she'll get in the bridle. She ended up getting on the lead and she's not a speed horse. I think there's a big room for improvement off that race."

The speed effort should have Karmageddon even tighter for this spot. Karmageddon was not at her absolute peak last out.

"She was not 100 percent last time," Nunn said. "This time, she will be. With the purses where they are, you've got to run them when you can."

Chuckie Lopez, aboard for all three of Karmageddon's races last year, will be back in the irons.

"He knows her best," Nunn said. "She's a little difficult to ride, because you can't use her early. John didn't do anything wrong. It's just how the race set up. It wasn't his fault. I don't think the stumble cost her the race, but it put her in the race too much. She doesn't want to be a part of that."

Karmageddon will renew her rivalry with Lil Kiara, a duel that stands at 1-1. Lil Kiara prevailed in their first meeting, winning by 2 3/4 lengths in Karmageddon's debut. The rematch was the New Jersey Juvenile, where Lil Kiara ran fourth, a disappointing follow-up to her win in the Maryland Millions Lassie Stakes at Laurel.

Roberto Alvarado Jr. will be aboard for trainer Cal Lynch in Lil Kiara's season debut.