08/23/2004 11:00PM

Next dance awaits Park Avenue Ball

Park Avenue Ball runs away from stablemate Doctor Voodoo to win the Tyro Stakes, a prep for the Sapling.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - The unbeaten Park Avenue Ball should be one of the favorites in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Sapling Stakes, the premier 2-year-old event at Monmouth Park.

On Sunday, Park Avenue Ball had his last major tune-up, a five-furlong drill in 1:00 in the mud with jockey Dale Beckner aboard. The workout pleased trainer Jim Ryerson.

"He worked good," said Ryerson. "Everything is a go."

Ryerson has worked wonders with his 2-year-olds this meet, earning a record of 5-4-1 from 13 juvenile starters.

"The 2-year-olds have really come around great," said Ryerson. "We're really happy with them."

Park Avenue Ball, a son of Citidancer, played a major role in spreading the joy with wins in both of his races.

He debuted with a five-length victory over New Jersey-breds on July 15, and followed up with a 2 1/2-length score over stablemate Doctor Voodoo in the July 31 Tyro Stakes, the traditional Sapling prep.

One reason Park Avenue Ball is running in the Sapling is because he doesn't have to ship, Ryerson said.

"It will be a much tougher race than the Tyro," he said.

Other probable Sapling runners include Holy Rocket, Pop the Question, and United.

Holy Rocket rolled to a 5 1/2-length win in the slop at Monmouth in his debut. He is trained by George Handy. Pop the Question scored at Monmouth first time out for trainer John Dowd.

United needed three shots to win his maiden, which he accomplished with a front-running effort at Saratoga for trainer George Weaver.

The Todd Pletcher barn figures to be in the Sapling mix, with seven nominated to the race.

Cab Driver tops allowance feature

Cab Driver has the least experience but the most upside potential in the featured $39,000 allowance race on Thursday.

The six-furlong race attracted seven runners. Cab Driver, making only his fourth start, shows the most encouraging Beyer Figure pattern among them.

The 3-year-old colt, a $150,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, didn't debut until July 10 at Philadelphia Park. He ran second, posting a 58 Beyer. He returned to Philadelphia Park to win his maiden with a 67 Beyer.

Cab Driver raced here at Monmouth last time out for trainer Cynthia Reese and missed by only a neck in a pacesetting allowance effort. The Beyer rose again, to 82.

Joe Rocco has the return call.

Heneresa sits at the opposite end of the experience spectrum with 20 starts. Claimed away from trainer Allen Jerkens for $27,500 at Belmont Park on June 23, Heneresa ran fourth for his new trainer, Carlos Paez, in a Monmouth allowance race in the slop.

He posted a 78 Beyer in that wet-track effort, well below the figures of 94 and 91 that he was given in his last two claiming starts for Jerkens.

Seven-pound apprentice rider Oscar Gomez has the return call.

* Sunday will mark the second annual New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival, with five stakes for New Jersey-breds and a total of $750,000 in purses.