07/14/2011 2:18PM

Monmouth Park: Coco Ecolo sharp for stakes debut in Serena's Song


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Coco Ecolo stepped up her game with a pair of convincing wins since arriving at Monmouth Park.

She will take the next step Saturday, making her stakes debut in the $75,000 Serena’s Song for 3-year-old fillies.

The mile-and-70-yard Serena’s Song, the prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Monmouth Oaks on Aug. 13, drew seven hopefuls.

Coco Ecolo started her career with a pair of thirds over Aqueduct’s inner track in February and March.

“We were trying to get her ready in late fall,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “Going into Aqueduct, that track is beachy. We were more or less racing her to get her fit, so her first one or two were okay. It was just a matter of her learning a little bit of what racing was.”

Before departing Aqueduct, Coco Ecolo tried a yielding turf course, where she seized the early lead before fading.

The three races in New York certainly improved her fitness level heading to Monmouth. Her maiden win was a 6 1/2-length romp, followed by a front-running first-level allowance win, where her Beyer Speed Figure improved to 80.

“Going by Beyer numbers and everything else, it really looked like she put it together in that last race,” Breen said. “The first time she won, it was with dangling reins with her running until she ran out of gas. Last time, she rated and kept on going.”

Paco Lopez has the return call.

Street Storm and Miss Valentine are the only stakes winners in the field.

Street Storm ships in from Kentucky for trainer Steve Margolis. After winning the off-the-turf Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds, Street Storm jumped into the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, where she rallied from 13th to finish eighth. Most recently, Street Storm ran second in a second-level allowance at Churchill Downs.

Pablo Fragoso picks up the mount.

The New York-bred Miss Valentine will be making only her second start in open company for trainer Christophe Clement. She captured a statebred stakes in her second start last November.

Joe Bravo will be aboard.

Salary Drive, fourth in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs here last month, switches from turf to dirt for trainer Eddie Plesa.

Withgreatpleasure and Petrezza were both first-level allowance winners last time out while Art of the Hunt won two of her last three.