07/19/2009 11:00PM

Many positives about Angel Hearted


OCEANPORT, N.J. - There are lots of reasons to give Angel Hearted a long look in a $51,000 first-level allowance for New Jersey-breds on Wednesday at Monmouth Park.

For starters, the 5-year-old has the rail in the 1 1/16-mile race. That's an advantageous post for a horse with plenty of early speed in a two-turn race.

"He always seemed like he was quick, even before he started racing," trainer Pat McBurney said. "We thought he would go through his New Jersey-bred conditions without a problem. We started in the sprints, where he would go a quarter- or a half-mile and stop. That had us scratching our heads. Even with his speed, he would much rather go two turns than a sprint race."

Many handicappers will note the turf-to-dirt angle in play here, as Angel Heart was a gate-to-wire winner last time out in a $25,000 claimer. That victory came at the expense of open company, and Angel Hearted now drops back in with statebreds.

And then there are the numbers. Angel Hearted's Beyer Speed Figure of 74 is easily the highest last-race figure of the nine entrants.

It all adds up to a lot of positives.

"He came out of his last race very good," said McBurney. "He's feeling super. We're hoping that he's just not strictly turf this year. We think he'll handle the dirt fine, and the distance."

This will be the fourth start of the season for the D'Arrigo Racing Stable homebred. In his 2009 debut in June, Angel Hearted flashed his customary early speed before fading to fifth.

"He definitely got tired in that race," McBurney said.

Next time out, Angel Hearted caught his least favorite surface, a sloppy sealed track.

"The jock said he didn't like that at all," McBurney said. "We're not going to put him in the mud anymore."

Then came the front-running victory, which led Angel Hearted to this lucrative spot.

Angel Hearted will face several runners who have been trying for a long time to knock over this condition.

Among the fresher faces, Top of My Game has the greatest upside potential. The 3-year-old colt will be making only his third start while stretching out beyond six furlongs for the first time.

After finishing third in his debut, Top of My Game scored a front-running maiden win here in the slop on June 21.