05/27/2011 2:36PM

Monmouth: Freshened Feel That Fire returns in Red Cross


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Feel That Fire has the least experience among the eight fillies and mares in the $75,000 Red Cross Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park, a byproduct of design and happenstance.

While the 4-year-old lacks seasoning, Feel That Fire has the most upside potential in the six-furlong race.

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The Red Cross and the $70,000 Little Silver Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf headline the middle card of the three-day holiday schedule at Monmouth. The track will also offer a Memorial Day card on Monday.

This will be only the fifth start for Feel That Fire, a Red Oak Stable homebred trained by Greg Sacco.

Her debut was delayed until November of last year due to a chipped ankle that required surgery. Feel That Fire missed by a nose at Monmouth in her debut and then came back two weeks later to beat the boys by three decisive lengths for her maiden win.

Then it was down to Gulfstream Park for two races in January. Feel That Fire determinedly won a first-level allowance race before stepping up to run third, beaten only three-quarters of a length, in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint.

Rather than press on, the decision was made to stop and wait for Monmouth.

“She is a talented filly who always performed well for us,” Sacco said. “We decided to bring her back for the summer and fall at Monmouth. There was no reason to stop, other than our decision to shut her down.

“Her last race was a creditable third from an outside post against a talented field. She’s been training well. I don’t know if she’s 100 percent cranked for this race but she is ready to run.”

Feel That Fire has been training like she means business with four breezes at Monmouth that have produced three bullet workouts, including a half-mile in 47.60 seconds on Thursday.

She will need a top-notch effort against a solid field that includes a pair of winners of more than $500,000: the New Jersey-bred Love That Dance and D’wild Ride.

Love That Dance is 4-4-0 in 11 starts at Monmouth, where she has earned almost half of her bankroll. The 5-year-old John Petrini homebred has a proven history of success in open stakes, winning the Trenton here last summer and the Sweet N Sassy at Delaware Park in the fall.

The race also includes Karmageddon, winner of the Princeton Stakes here last fall; Ms Vanenzza, who hit the board in a pair of Grade 3 stakes at Gulfstream over the winter; and an entry of Jehan and Bronx City Girl for trainer Marty Wolfson.

Landing My Way completes the field.

Little Silver: Ruthenia most proven

Ruthenia is only stakes winner in the Little Silver, having captured the Good Mood for trainer Christophe Clement last October at Belmont Park.

This will be her second start of the season, having run 10th in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland.

Salary Drive briefly held the lead on the far turn before settling for third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on the main track.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out a pair who race uncoupled in the betting: Artisanal and Skating.

Grant Foster will saddle Madame Defarge, a maiden winner last time out at Atlantic City Race Course in her grass debut.

“I don’t necessarily think the turf was the key to the win but the two turns helped a lot,” Foster said. “We’re taking a shot in here in the stakes but most of these 3-year-old stakes are like two-other-than allowances.”