10/04/2004 11:00PM

Love That Moon has risen again

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Jean Raftery/Turfotos
Love That Moon is pointing for a defense of his Jack Dudley Sprint title.

MIAMI - "The big horse came back to life."

That in a nutshell was how trainer Rudy Wolfendale described Sunday's impressive victory by his "big horse," Love That Moon, in the $40,000 Reappeal Stakes. The win was the first for Love That Moon in five starts this season, and his first since he captured the Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap nearly 11 months earlier.

Love That Moon had moved to the top of the local sprint division with three straight stakes victories here this time last season, before having both his win streak and career halted. He chipped a knee while finishing fifth in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap in his 2003 finale.

"It really took him awhile to get over the injury, but he's actually come back sounder than before he got hurt," said Wolfendale, who trains Love That Moon for owner-breeder Robert Bakerman. "It would take him four or five days just to come out of his races last year, and every time he'd win another stakes I'd just scratch my head and wonder how he did it."

Love That Moon finished off the board in his first two starts on the comeback trail, then was third in each of his two outings before Sunday's race, when he exploded from just off the pace to win the 6 1/2-furlong Reappeal under a confident ride by jockey M.R. Cruz.

"It was a little ambitious starting him out in the Smile Handicap, he got in trouble at the top of the stretch in the Groomstick, and in his last two starts he didn't have much luck with the trip or the pace of the races," Wolfendale said. "But everything went his way on Sunday."

Wolfendale said he'll likely point Love That Moon, a 5-year-old son of Migrating Moon, for a defense of his Jack Dudley title on Nov. 13. The race is restricted to Florida-breds and carries a $150,000 purse.

"He was tired today after winning that race," said Wolfendale on Monday. "He laid down in his stall all day. But it's still another six weeks to the Dudley, so I might try to run him once in between if the right spot comes along."

The Reappeal was the third of four wins on Sunday's program for Cruz, the defending Calder riding champion, who got off to a slow start during the meet and continues to chase Eddie Castro for the title. Castro, who added another three wins on Monday, still holds a nearly insurmountable advantage with less than three weeks remaining in the session.

Mr. Livingston works on soft turf

Surprisingly, the turf course was open for training on Monday morning despite overnight rain. Only three horses took the opportunity to work around the dogs, which were set about 20 feet from the outside rail.

One who breezed over the soft course was Mr. Livingston, who went five furlongs in 1:03.80 in preparation for Saturday's $100,000 Flying Pidgeon Handicap.

Mr. Livingston, idle since finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar on July 25, will share high weight in the 1 1/8-mile Flying Pidgeon with Twilight Road and Unbridels King.

Chatter Chatter has five-furlong drill

Chatter Chatter, the 19 1/2-length winner of the My Dear Girl division of the 2003 Florida Stallion Stakes, worked five furlongs in 1:02 on Tuesday. Now 3, Chatter Chatter is winless in her only two starts since returning to the races this summer. She has not started since finishing a tiring fifth behind stablemate Adobe Gold in the Mia's Hope Stakes on Aug. 2.

* Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. and trainer Kenneth Hoffman combined for a pair of winners on Monday's card, winning the fifth race on turf with Demeteor and the finale with Eldixie.