08/18/2004 11:00PM

Orseno ready for stakes, whether on turf or off


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Joe Orseno hedged his position in the $60,000 Twin Lights Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park with the entry of Grinch and Earthquake Ride.

Orseno will run both if the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies remains on the turf.

Should it shift to the main track - a distinct possibility during an ongoing rainy stretch on the Jersey Shore - Grinch will be Orseno's lone runner.

Grinch comes off a fourth-place finish in Monmouth's Serena's Song Stakes, which followed a pair of allowance victories. Grinch made a middle move to pull into contention in the Serena's Song before settling for fourth.

Orseno chalked up the loss to a speed-favoring strip that punished closers.

"I almost scratched her that day," said Orseno. "There was such a strong bias and nobody was backing up."

Jockey Joe Bravo asked Grinch to run five furlongs from the finish just to keep pace.

"Joe knew what was happening," said Orseno. "He did what he had to do, but she was used too much."

Grinch earned an 81 Beyer Figure for the Serena's Song, only three points lower than her lifetime best.

Orseno has always wanted to try Grinch on the turf, and he might fulfill that wish in the Twin Lights. Earthquake Ride, in contrast, is strictly a turfer. She tried the main track last time and wound up losing by 20 lengths.

Bravo was named to ride both Orseno fillies.

The Irish-bred October Glory tries to get back on the turf for trainer Vicki Oliver.

She wound up in off-the-turf spots in her last two outings, winning by 6 1/2 lengths in an opening-day allowance and finishing a soundly beaten fourth in the Little Silver Stakes in the slop.

The Little Silver turned out to be a key race, as the runaway winner, Capeside Lady, came back to win the Grade 2 Monmouth Oaks on Sunday.

Roaring Fever opts out of Iselin

Roaring Fever will run Saturday at Monmouth, but not in the Iselin Handicap.

The 4-year-old colt, who finished third in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile in his last outing, will tackle allowance company on the Iselin undercard.

Roaring Fever was considered a possible Iselin runner, but trainer Mark Hennig's enthusiasm for the race dimmed with Ghostzapper in the picture.

"Our horse is not a superstar," said Robby Rader, who trains Hennig's Monmouth division. "We'd be taking an okay horse against a horse running a 120 Beyer."

The allowance race gives Roaring Fever a better shot at a confidence-building win.

"We're putting him where he really belongs right now," said Rader. "He ran very well in the Salvator Mile, but he also deserves to win a race. This will be an easier spot for him."

Roaring Fever has won three of 16 starts and had one of his best moments last October at The Meadowlands, where he missed by a neck in the Paterson Stakes.

Winless in six starts this season, Roaring Fever was third in the Grade 3 W.D. Schaeffer Stakes on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.