07/24/2009 12:00AM

Powder Burn stepping up in turf stakes

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Powder Burn has settled in nicely at Monmouth Park.

"She's training like a little monster," said Adele Bellinger, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani. "Hopefully, she will run like one. We were pretty impressed with her last start. She ran second, but it was a very nice second."

Powder Burn faces her sternest test here Saturday in the $65,000 Desert Vixen Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Powder Burn has shown steady improvement in the three races since her debut at Gulfstream Park in March. She moved forward to get third in her second start in Florida before heading to Monmouth where she earned a maiden win in late May. She then stepped up to miss by only a neck last time in a first-level allowance.

"She was pretty green in her first start," Bellinger said. "She just kind of galloped along, thinking it was neat to have company. She began to show a little something in her second start. By the time she got here, she was thinking she was a racehorse."

All four races have been on grass.

"That was a Tommy move," Bellinger said. "After watching her train on the dirt, he decided she would get along on the turf. He worked her once on the turf before the first race, and she really liked it."

As a fallback position in the event of wet weather, Albertrani also entered Driven by Passion for the main track only.

Trainer Todd Pletcher also has two in the race: Platinum Girl and Neptuna.

Platinum Girl, the front-running winner of Monmouth's Little Silver Stakes on May 24, stepped up last time to the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Stakes and set the pace before fading to last.

Blinkers will go back on for the first time since last October.

"With the blinkers back on, we'll let her go on with it and see how far she can go," assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta said.

Neptuna earned her maiden win last time out in her third attempt.

They have complementary styles. While Platinum Girl is all speed, Neptuna is better from off the pace.

They race as separate betting interests.

Fast Tigress also adds blinkers. She is trained by John Kimmel.

Completing the field are Lady Kafka, Stage Trick, Red Rhapsody, Becky's Exchange, and Direct Line.

Roxyana and Stage Trick also were entered for the main track only.