10/16/2009 11:00PM

Power Pledge continues to improve

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Power Pledge, a promising 3-year-old, takes an important step Tuesday in the $51,000 first-level allowance feature for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at the Meadowlands.

Trained by Mark Shuman, Power Pledge tackles winners for the first time following her maiden victory at Monmouth Park on Sept. 20. A homebred by the Golden Dome Stable, Power Pledge faces seven rivals in the six-furlong race.

While most of the competition has an experience edge, Power Pledge has an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern that suggests she can handle the step up in class.

She debuted in May at Monmouth, posting a modest 25 Beyer in a trouble-filled race. She next reappeared in August, launching a bold bid to get third behind next-out winner Miss Tallahassee as her Beyer leapt to 57. Then it was Power Pledge's turn to find the winner's circle, digging in to win by a nose with a 61 Beyer.

Channing Hill, aboard for the last two races, gets the return call.

Verde River is also moving up following a maiden win, although her victory was a long time coming. This will be only the third career start for the 6-year-old Verde River, who is owned and bred by Ramona Barney and trained by Edward Barney. In her first race in more than a year, Verde River rolled to a commanding win at Monmouth in a statebred maiden claimer that produced a 67 Beyer, the best last-race number in the field.

Apprentice rider Angel Serpa has the return call.

Trini Dubai has been more competitive since a trainer switch to Eddie Broome and a shift to the New Jersey-bred ranks. A 3-year-old, Trini Dubai turned the corner in her first start following the barn change, running third a maiden race at Monmouth. She promptly followed with a statebred maiden victory in early September and finished fourth in her first try at this level. Elvis Trujillo will be back aboard.

Tony Black is slated to ride Punchin' Chudy for trainer Cynthia Reese. Punchin' Chudy missed by only two lengths last time out, her first race in almost three months.

Pascal's Paradox has never finished off the board in five starts, although she has had some interesting trips. Two starts back, she opened up by six lengths, only to get nipped by a nose at the wire as the 6-5 favorite.

She was well-backed again last time as the 2-1 favorite, finishing third in another tight finish.