09/04/2008 12:00AM

Morning Ridge tries stakes


Morning Ridge will get her first shot at stakes competition in the $50,000 Lakeway at Retama Park, and she's earned it. She is undefeated in four career starts, rising from the maiden claiming ranks to the optional claiming ranks between February and July.

"It's hard to say what level she'll stop at," said George Northrop Jr., who trains Morning Ridge. "She hadn't stopped yet."

Morning Ridge has ascended the class ladder with ease since winning her debut in a $20,000 maiden claimer at Sam Houston Race Park in February. She then cleared her nonwinner-of-two condition in a $30,000 claiming race at Lone Star Park in April. From there, Morning Ridge stepped up in class again, handily winning back-to-back optional claiming allowances at Louisiana Downs in June and July.

"The fractions have been hot the last couple of times, and she's just eased past things, opened up, and coasted home," Northrop said.

Morning Ridge could get a stalking trip in the Lakeway, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies. There is a good deal of speed in the race, among Suzy Three, Valid Lilly, Twisted Tale, and the rail-drawn Formal Flyer. Larry Taylor has the mount on Morning Ridge, a Florida-bred daughter of Quaker Ridge who races for Louis W. Smith.

Also in the nine-horse field is Eyes on the Gold, who was a five-length debut winner in July, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 81. She is making her second start in the Lakeway.