07/30/2010 3:57PM

Matchmaker figures to be wide-open race at Monmouth


OCEANPORT, N.J. – The Grade 3, $200,000 Matchmaker for fillies and mares on the turf looks like one of the outstanding betting races on the Haskell Day card Sunday at Monmouth Park. A very strong case can made for six of the 11 runners in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Tizaqueena will be making her fourth straight appearance in a graded stakes. She won the Grade 3 Arlington Matron before running third most recently in the All Along at Colonial Downs.

Cherokee Queen was a dominant winner most recently in the $200,000 Dr. Penny Memorial at Philadelphia Park.

Giant Mover blew away the competition last time out in a Virginia-bred stakes at Colonial.

Quiet Meadow returns to Monmouth, where she was twice a hard-luck loser last year, missing in the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap by a neck and the Miss Liberty Stakes by a head.

Eye of Taurus was third last time out in the Miss Liberty, the Matchmaker prep.

In this deep group, Mystic Miracle could be a live value play from the Mark Hennig barn in her third start at the meet.

A gray 4-year-old, Mystic Miracle won a third-level allowance on the opening weekend, before making a strong inside move to get fourth in the Miss Liberty, a race taken by Maram, the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner.

“She ran very well last time,” assistant trainer Rob Rader said. “If the horse that won that race was back in here, she’d be the favorite. The horse that beat us is a very nice horse. Our filly runs better when she is clear, and she never did get outside. If she had gotten daylight, I think she had another gear.”

Talkin About Love, Yippety Yip, Obsequious, Unbridled Essence, and Tottie complete the field.

Teddy Drone: Roaring Lion sharp

Roaring Lion held off Wildcat Brief by a nose in the Mr. Prospector Stakes here July 5. They square off again in the $150,000 Teddy Drone at six furlongs.

The Mr. Prospector was the 10th career win for Roaring Lion and was a solid follow-up to his second-place finish in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap. A 6-year-old trained by Bruce Levine, Roaring Lion is 3-0-1 in 6 starts at Monmouth Park.

Wildcat Brief, 4, is hitting his stakes stride for trainer Ben Perkins Jr.

“He ran well last time,” Perkins said. “He was making a nice move. It looked like there was a hole for him, and then there wasn’t. Paco [Lopez] had to change direction, and he finished with pretty good energy.”

Perkins feels Monmouth is more conducive this season to Wildcat Brief’s stalking style. No longer a pure-speed highway, the main track now gives closers a fighting chance.

“In his races last year, he ran so hard, but they didn’t come back to him,” Perkins said. “The track has played a lot more to his liking this year.”

The field includes three other last-out winners: He’s So Chic, Valid Sum, and Evenings End, a dominant winner over New Jersey-breds in the Bernie Dowd Handicap at a mile and 70 yards.

Deep field in Majestic Light

The $150,000 Majestic Light, the prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes on Aug, 21, drew a strong field of handicap runners topped by Arson Squad and Cool Coal Man.

Arson Squad already owns a pair of Grade 3 wins this season: the Skip Away at Gulfstream Park and the Alysheba at Churchill Downs. He finished sixth to Blame most recently in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill.

Cool Coal Man, third in the 2008 Haskell, has never run a poor race here and has a record of 2-0-1 in 3 starts at Monmouth. He captured the Skip Away Stakes last time out.

◗ Two Notch Road, unbeaten in three grass starts at Monmouth, returns following a pair of trips to Virginia to get third in the Colonial Turf Cup and fourth in the Virginia Derby. He has the rail against eight rivals in the $150,000 Jersey Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf.

◗ Lady Alexander, fourth in the Grade 3 Bed O’ Roses Handicap at Belmont, is a top contender in the $150,000 Regret Stakes for filly and mare sprinters.