11/19/2009 12:00AM

Love That Dance aims to stretch speed

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Love That Dance, winner of the Maryland Millions Oaks, runs 1 1/16 miles in the Honey Bee.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Love That Dance closes out a very productive year Friday night in the $60,000 Honey Bee Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at the Meadowlands.

Love That Dance has earned $157,254 this year, top money in the field. A chunk of that came in her victory in the Maryland Millions Oaks at Laurel on Sept. 26.

A homebred in New Jersey for John Petrini, Love That Dance dominated statebreds in two races last year, including a five-length win in the filly division of the New Jersey Juvenile.

She is 2 for 10 this season, securing the other win against older New Jersey-breds in the Open Mind Handicap at Monmouth Park in May.

Speed is her game, and she'll need an alert break from post 10 in the 11-horse field going 1 1/16 miles. She carries top weight of 121 pounds.

"I think she'll be able to get herself into good position," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said. "Hopefully, there will be some scratches so we can move over a couple of paths."

Love That Dance is looking to bounce back from a fourth-place effort most recently in the Poker Night Stakes at Aqueduct.

"She got off a step slow that day," Perkins said. "I don't know if she stumbled after leaving the gate. She never got involved in the race, so we threw that one out and pointed her to this race, which will likely be her last this year."

The major challenge for Love That Dance in the Honey Bee is distance. She is most effective from six furlongs to one mile, and this spot stretches the outside of her stamina envelope.

"The way the Meadowlands track is, you always can get a little extra distance," Perkins said. "I've always found that horses will go a little bit further there. The track is so fast, and it doesn't take a lot out of them."

Oro Blanco returns to New Jersey for Maryland-based trainer Tim Tullock. She made two trips to Monmouth for stakes this summer, finishing second in the Serena's Song before running last in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

Oro Blanco regrouped since then at Charles Town, winning a third-level allowance before getting fourth in the slop in the HPBA Jefferson County Municipalities Stakes.

Stage Trick, one spot better than Oro Blanco in the Monmouth Oaks, rebounded to win a second-level allowance at the end of the Monmouth season.