02/12/2009 1:00AM

Maren's Meadow back at two turns


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Maren's Meadow will be returning to a distance over which she is a graded winner on Saturday when she stretches out to 1 1/16 miles for the $50,000 Pippin at Oaklawn. She will face eight other fillies and mares in the race, including a sharp Nice Inheritance, who is seeking her third stakes win since November for trainer Steve Asmussen, and French Kiss, an allowance winner opening weekend at Oaklawn.

Maren's Meadow made her first start in close to four months in the $50,000 American Beauty at Oaklawn on Jan. 17, finishing a close third in the six-furlong race that went in a quick 1:10.40.

"I think the last race will put her right where we want her to be," said Larry Jones, who trains Maren's Meadow for River Ridge Ranch. "She's trained well since, and we've found she is just better running a route."

Maren's Meadow, a two-time sprint winner, experienced her greatest success at two turns last year. She won the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at a mile at Turfway Park in March, then wired the field in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at 1 1/16 miles in August. Terry Thompson has the mount on Maren's Meadow.

French Kiss figures to be making her case in the later stages. She closed from 15 lengths back for a head win in an allowance route at Oaklawn on Jan. 16.

"She just kept coming and coming," said Gary Hartlage, who trains French Kiss. "We were hoping she was going to be third and then second, and she just kept on coming. She ran her little heart out."

Color Me Up also was an allowance winner opening weekend, but at six furlongs. Her trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, is looking forward to moving her back to two turns, where last year she was third in the Grade 2 Cotillion at Philadelphia Park.

"She won short, so now she's ready to stretch out," he said. "She's sitting on a good one."

Minewander also is stretching out to two turns after a fifth-place finish in the American Beauty.

"She ran a nice race the other day," trainer David Vance said. "Maren's Meadow will probably be the favorite, and we were only beaten a length, a length and a half, by her."

Nice Inheritance won the $50,000 Retama Distaff in January and the $50,000 Lady's Secret at Remington in November.