05/25/2013 2:03PM

Monmouth Park: Bella Castani looks solid in Little Silver


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Bella Castani puts a two-race winning streak on the line as the solid favorite on Monday in the Little Silver Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf at Monmouth Park.

The Little Silver and Red Cross for female sprinters, both worth $60,000, are the leading events on the 11-race holiday card starting at 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

After a maiden win at Gulfstream Park, Bella Castani headed north to Belmont Park for a rallying victory in the Tweedside Stakes as the 4-5 choice.

The price here figures to be short as well, given her recent form, and the combination of trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Joe Bravo.

That tandem has already notched a turf stakes victory at the meet, the Grade 3 Red Bank last weekend with Za Approval at 9-10.

Among the locally based runners, Wellspring Legacy also boasts a two-race winning streak, both coming at Tampa Bay Downs after trainer Charlie Harvatt claimed her for $12,500 in late February.

Harvatt put her on Lasix, and the filly responded with a pair of dominant wins for a $25,000 claiming price in an off-the-turf contest and in a first-level grass allowance.

Harvatt, wearing a cast to protect a left forearm broken when a horse kicked him two weeks ago, is eager to put his recent acquisition to the test.

“We’re sure going to try,” Harvatt said. “She’s run better and better each time. She loves the grass. She’s nothing to look at, but she tries.”

Wellspring Legacy is 2 for 2 on turf. Ramon Moya will ride from the rail against nine rivals going one mile.

Todd Pletcher sends out an uncoupled duo of Skyfall, an off-the-turf allowance winner at Belmont Park most recently, and Riverboat Queen, third to Bella Castani in the Tweedside.

Holiday Soiree tough if she starts

Holiday Soiree will be very tough in the Red Cross, if she makes the trip.

The 4-year-old was a rallying third in Grade 1 Humana Distaff contested in the slop on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Holiday Soiree is also cross-entered in Monday’s Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The race certainly opens up, if she remains in Kentucky.

Our Year has a solid record here of 2-1-1 in four starts. Trainer Tim Hills, frustrated by the paucity of third-level races for filly and mare sprinters, decided the stakes was best option for Our Year.

“If we have a chance at a stakes placing, it will increase her value,” Hills said of the 5-year-old.

This will be her second start of the year, following a third-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in an allowance at Parx Racing.

“She had a lot of nagging problems over the winter at Gulfstream,” Hills said. “But the three-other-than never filled. Down there, the stakes are all graded. I tried her in a graded stakes, and it didn’t work.”

Hills was referring to the 2011 Grade 1 Prioress, where Our Year was the soundly beaten trailer.

Bravo will be aboard for the first time.

Srumdiddlyumptious will be looking to capture a second Monmouth stakes, having won the Just Smashing last year.

Little Stitch, now 7, is a hard-knocking New Jersey-bred who is a five-time winner here.

Angel’s Glory, Taylors Irish, and Silverette complete the field.

Monmouth shifts to its summer schedule next weekend, racing Friday through Sunday.