07/15/2011 1:18PM

Monmouth Park: Love That Dance bearing burden of success

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Love That Dance, with Pablo Fragoso riding,wins the Open Mind.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Love That Dance is the one to beat in the $65,000 Spruce Fir Handicap, and she was assigned the weight to prove it.

Love That Dance will carry 125 pounds, the highest assignment of her career, on Sunday in the one-mile, 70 yards stakes for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Love That Dance spots each of her seven rivals between eight and 14 pounds, making this a true handicap.

Weight is the price for success. A 5-year-old mare, Love That Dance is 5-4-0 in 13 starts here. She was a dominant winner of the Open Mind Handicap last month, carrying 123 pounds in the six furlong race for state breds.

The added weight and longer distance are the two prime concerns of trainer Ben Perkins, Jr.

“It’s a lot for a filly to carry going long, but what are you going to do?” Perkins said. “It is what it is. You have to deal with it, or you don’t run.”

Love That Dance has been primarily a sprinter throughout her 26-race career. She is winless in three attempts around two turns, including second-place finishes in the last two editions of the Spruce Fir.

Perkins reports Love That Dance recovered nicely from her last win and is ready to go.

Love That Dance returned this year with a fifth-place finish against open company in the Red Cross Stakes before posting the 3 1/2 length score in the Open Mind.

“She’s been training really well,” Perkins said. “She had the winter off, and it takes her one race to get going again. You can see where she moved up off that first race. She ran well last time and she’s been doing well off that.”

Pablo Fragoso has the return call.

Ms Glory Be comes next at 117 pounds following a second-level win against statebreds at this same distance for trainer Greg Sacco. Angel Serpa will be aboard.

Both Lil Kiara and Y to Kat come next at 116.

Lil Kiara picks up a pound after running third to Love That Dance in the Open Mind. Y To Kat has run three times at the meet, all against open allowance company. She will add blinkers for the return to the statebred ranks.

Running In Circles (114 pounds), Little Stitch (114), Cee the Country (113,) and Basic Trick (111) complete the field.

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