08/23/2006 11:00PM

Pommes Frites on nice little roll


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Pommes Frites, an emerging turf star, headlines the Grade 3, $150,000 Eatontown Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Saturday afternoon at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old filly, Pommes Frites has won 4 of 5 starts this season. Her lone loss came in the Grade 2 Just a Game Handicap at Belmont Park on June 10, when she set the pace before losing by a neck to Gorella. The Just a Game turned out to be a key race, as Gorella and Pommes Frites both won their next starts: Gorella won the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington, and Pommes Frites was a front-running winner in the Dr. Penny Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park on July 1.

Jose Santos will be aboard Pommes Frites for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who also sends out Thetactics Ofdance. They will race as separate betting interests.

The field includes two runners from last year's Eatontown: Smart N Classy, who won the race, and Brunilda, who was bottled up in traffic before shaking loose to finish fourth.

"She got into a lot of trouble," said Stanley Hough, who trains Brunilda. "We took her back and she just got buried. She got out late and came running."

Brunilda tuned up for Saturday's Eatontown with a pacesetting win under jockey Eddie Castro in Monmouth's Politely Stakes.

"She was in the one hole and everybody was taking back," Hough said. "She dragged [Castro] to the lead, and she was able to set slow fractions. She finished up good."

Prop Me Up was a game second last time out, when she made her stakes debut and second grass start in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes.

"The pace was a little slower than she needed to get the job done," said trainer Kelly Breen. "She ran big, and now she's graded-stakes placed."

Dream Lady has had time to recover since dueling for the lead and fading to ninth in the Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in late June.

Completing the field are Humoristic and Wrapped Up In You. Career Oriented was entered for the main-track only.

Horse racing at halftime?

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is considering a proposal from the Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to broadcast the 2007 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes at halftime on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

"We have told all parties that we are enthusiastic about it," said Chris McErlean, the vice president of racing operations at The Meadowlands. "We're willing to take the risk, within certain parameters, and we continue to work on the details."

A Meadowlands Cup telecast would help promote ESPN's coverage of the Breeders' Cup, which comes to Monmouth Park next year.

"It's a great hook and a great way to showcase New Jersey racing leading up to the Breeders' Cup," McErlean said.

Moving the race from the normal Friday night slot to Monday would undoubtedly hurt attendance and handle. The Meadowlands is normally dark on Monday.

"We would certainly take a business hit, but we would look to offset that by building an event around the race," McErlean said. "We have enough time to do that."

* The $70,000 Twin Lights Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf did not fill for Saturday. Race secretary Mike Dempsey said he will try to bring the race back for Sunday.