07/24/2008 11:00PM

Open Skies gives turf a try in stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Open Skies was a filly without a race when the Goldfinch Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares twice failed to fill last weekend at Monmouth Park.

Trainer Tim Hills settled on an interesting alternative: the $65,000 Staybridge Suites Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at 1 1/16 miles on Monmouth's turf course.

On one hand, the race looks like a solid spot as Open Skies drops back to an age-restricted race following consecutive dominant wins against older statebred runners in a second-level allowance race and in the Spruce Fir Handicap.

On the other hand, Open Skies has never run on grass in her nine-race career.

"We just ran out of spots with her when the New Jersey-bred race didn't go," Hills said of the daughter of Defrere. "She's not particularly bred to run on the turf. She's a real tough filly. Whatever you ask her to do, she'll do it."

Even if Open Skies doesn't take to the turf, Hills considers it a worthwhile experiment.

"If she doesn't like it, no problem," Hills said. "If a horse doesn't like the grass, it doesn't beat them up. They come out of it fresh, and then you just go back to the dirt."

Joe Bravo retains the mount for a fifth straight time.

In contrast, Creative Design has made all six of her starts on turf for trainer Tom Proctor. This will be the Monmouth debut for the filly, who has run primarily in Kentucky.

In her only other stakes appearance, Creative Design finished eighth in the Tropical Park Oaks at Calder on New Year's Day.

Jose Lezcano, the meet's leading rider, will be aboard.

Trainer and co-owner Phil Oliver finds a more forgiving spot for Yippety Yip after she stumbled at the break in her most recent effort, Monmouth's Grade 3 Boiling Springs Stakes, before finishing a distant eighth.

Three runners also were entered in the $75,000 Denise Rhudy Memorial on Saturday at Delaware Park: Fareena, Time Reveals All, and One Man to Beat.

After winning her first two career starts last fall at Laurel, Fareena has hit the board in three consecutive stakes races.

Time Reveals All started her career on synthetic surfaces in California, concluding her first season with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. In her lone start this year, Time Reveals All switched to grass and captured a five-furlong sprint at Delaware Park.