08/27/2007 11:00PM

Levine has another placed to win


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Bruce Levine has had the knack of spotting horses in the right races all meet long at Monmouth Park.

More Angels, entered Thursday, in a $45,000 third-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option for fillies and mares at six furlongs, is another good example. Levine also entered the 4-year-old More Angels in the Classy Mirage Stakes at Saratoga on Monday. When the Monmouth race filled, Levine scratched out of the stakes in favor of an easier spot.

Those placements are the reason Levine is making a late run at his first Monmouth training title. Entering the final week of the meet, Levine had pulled within three wins of the leader, Todd Pletcher.

"We're kind of running out of time," Levine said. "I got a lot horses in where they belong. It's also a question of how many Todd will run at you. I need some races to go to make a little run at it."

The New York-based Levine finished second in the trainer's race here the last two summers.

The Levine percentages are outstanding. Of his first 80 starters at the meet, 28 were winners. Equally impressive, 61 finished in the money.

"I run them where they can win," Levine said. "They claim a lot of my horses. I think I've lost 15 at the meet, so they know I'm running them where they can win. Some are good, some are bad. It becomes a guessing game."

Many bettors guessed wrong when More Angels flew in from California for her last start, a second-level allowance at Saratoga on July 27.

Overcoming a bobble at the break, More Angels posted a front-running score at 11-1 while earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

Levine gives all the credit to Bill Spawr, who had trained the filly since a claim at Santa Anita for $40,000 in February.

"She kind of got off the plane and we ran her," Levine said. "I was more the beneficiary than anything."

The main concern Thursday is a bounce, or a regression following a peak performance. To counter that, Levine gave the filly more than a month off and shipped her from Saratoga to Monmouth on Sunday night to let her settle in.

Pletcher is in the race with the Brazilian-bred Aliysa. The 4-year-old was the 7-5 favorite in her U.S. debut on July 11 at Belmont Park, where she chased the pace before tiring badly.