08/05/2010 2:13PM

Kelly has strong pair of fillies in Monmouth's Colleen


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Tomica’s Spirit and Sopchoppy give trainer Tim Kelly two contenders Saturday in the $100,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The Colleen is the prep for the meet’s last major event for 2-year-old fillies, the Sorority on Labor Day.

Kelly plans to run both in the Colleen, and the Daniel Ljoka-owned duo will be uncoupled in the wagering.

Of the two, Tomica’s Spirit has a slight experience edge, with three races to her credit, one more than Sopchoppy.

Both earned their maiden wins at Penn National, where Kelly has been on fire with a perfect 7-for-7 mark in 2010 when shipping there from his Monmouth base.

Tomica’s Spirit debuted at Monmouth, running fourth. Her next stop was Penn National, where she posted a 2 1/2-length win. Most recently, Tomica’s Spirit was third behind Winslet in the Tippett Stakes on the turf at Colonial Downs.

“She broke a little slow and she didn’t have a good trip,” Kelly said. “She got checked a little on the turn. By the time she got through, the race was over because the winner just smoked us.”

Tomica’s Spirit is the only Colleen entrant exiting a stakes race.

“She ran a good race, I can’t complain,” Kelly said. “Turf did not move her up, like we had hoped. She ran about the same. Now, I like the turf-to-dirt angle.”

Kendrick Carmouche will ride, while Francisco Maysonett will be aboard Sopchoppy.

“Francisco breezed everything all winter for us,” Kelly said. “We’ve given him an opportunity, and he has come through for us.”

Maysonett was aboard Sopchoppy for her maiden win at Penn National, following a fifth in her debut at Monmouth.

“She’s a big strong filly,” Kelly said. “A class act. She’s really doing well.”

R Heat Lightning and Twelve Pack Shelly own the best Beyer Speed Figures.

R Heat Lightning came away a five-length winner in her lone start at Delaware Park for trainer Todd Pletcher. A homebred for E. Paul Robsham, R Heat Lightning posted a 74 Beyer.

Fernando Jara has the return call.

Twelve Pack Shelly zoomed to an 84 Beyer in her latest, a first-level allowance win on the synthetic track at Presque Isle Downs. That doesn’t come close to her career best, a 95 for her 10 3/4-length debut victory at Laurel in April.

Sleepless Dixie, Mis Vizcaya, Primal Kitten, and Tipit and Tapit also were winners in their last outings.

My Frenchman: ‘General’ on a roll

General Perfect has thrived since trainer Frankie Costa returned the 7-year-old gelding to 5 1/2-furlong grass races at Monmouth. He was an easy winner in both starts since the surface switch, including a sharp win in the John McSorley Stakes on July 11.

General Perfect will look to extend that streak in the companion feature, the $100,000 My Frenchman Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

General Perfect posted a career-topping 99 Beyer in the McSorley, quite a feat for a horse his age. The former low-level claimer has finally found his best stride.

“He got good now, he’s in good shape” Costa said. “He always ran good but he really likes the grass.”

General Perfect is 5-0-2 in 8 turf races at Monmouth.

Elusive Gift also captured his last two, a pair of restricted grass stakes at Colonial Downs.