05/26/2005 12:00AM

Mott and Frankel key to Red Bank


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The Grade 3, $100,000 Red Bank Handicap opens the turf season Saturday at Monmouth Park, weather permitting.

The Jersey Shore has been inundated with rain this past week, leaving the course saturated. "It is our intention to keep the Red Bank on the grass, barring substantially more rain," racing secretary Mike Dempsey said.

The complexion of the race could change dramatically with a surface change.

Of the 11 runners entered, two are designated as main track only: Ricardo A and Tap Day. Both were also entered in Monmouth's $65,000 Frisk Me Now Stakes on Sunday at a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

Assuming the Red Bank remains on the grass, Remind and Trade Fair will be tough.

, high weight in the field at 118 pounds, came charging through the lane to miss by only a head to Burning Roma in last year's Red Bank.

Trained by Bill Mott, Remind has shown more speed in his recent races. He set the pace in Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct on April 23 and lost by a neck. Mike Luzzi has the mount.

, trained by Bobby Frankel, most recently ran fifth in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland and might appreciate a damp course. Second on the scale at 116 pounds, Trade Fair ran 12 of his first 14 races in Europe, where softer courses are the norm. Aaron Gryder has the mount.

Count Jamie Woodington among the trainers rooting for the Red Bank to remain on the grass. Woodington sends American Freedom (113 pounds), a 7-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding who finished third in the Red Bank last year.

"I hope it stays on the grass but I think my chances are slim," Woodington said.

"He'll run either way. I'll run him on the dirt because the race will scratch down."

Following the same pattern as last year, makes his season debut in the Red Bank after wintering in Camden, S.C.

"He's trained well and come back happy and healthy," Woodington said.

* The $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds is the supporting feature Saturday, and the Richard Dutrow Jr.-trained entry of Upturn and Dixie Two Thousand will be major players.