06/29/2006 11:00PM

Present Danger seeks spark in return

Joseph Brown / Equi-Photo
Baby Buzz, Chris DeCarlo up, leads all the way to win his debut by 4 1/2 lengths on Thursday at Monmouth.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Vickie Oliver hopes a return to the Monmouth Park turf course perks up Present Danger on Sunday, when she runs in a $45,000 third-level allowance. The one-mile race attracted 10 fillies and mares, with only Ernabel carrying the $50,000 tag.

Present Danger ran well in three starts here last summer, including a victory in a second-level allowance race. She turned in several solid efforts in the spring, including a head loss in a third-level allowance at Keeneland in which she equaled her career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

Last time out, Present Danger ran sixth in a similar race on a yielding course at the Meadowlands. Wild Chick, who also returns in this race, set a moderate pace while finishing a clear second.

"She needs a little bit of pace," Oliver said. "I think a mile is the right distance for her. That course at the Meadowlands was very soft, and we were in the first race. I think everybody was just feeling out the turf and nobody went out. We wound up wide turning for home."

Connie Belle is one of the top contenders Sunday, even though she hasn't run since September. Trained by Bill Mott, she hit the board in 7 of 8 starts last year, including a win in the Auntie Mame Stakes at Belmont Park. One of her best efforts last summer was a fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga.

Trainer Christophe Clement has an entry of Croisiere, the winner of Miss Liberty Stakes at the Meadowlands last November, and Life, who was second by a neck in a third-level allowance at Gulfstream Park in April.

Little excitement for Choose Six

The Choose Six, the wager in which bettors have the option to pick winners from any six races, continues to struggle.

A $1 wager that replaced the traditional pick six this meet, the Choose Six attracted a total pool of only $92 on Thursday.

There was no winner. The consolation for picking four winners was $2.40.

The wager continues to be hampered by limited distribution. It is only available to ontrack bettors at Monmouth, the Meadowlands, and Freehold Raceway.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will continue to support the Choose Six by offering $10,000 guarantees on $1 million race days: the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 6, and the July 15 Meadowlands Pace and the Aug. 5 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands.

"I think we'll keep it on the menu through the end of the meets," said vice president/racing operations Chris McErlean. "Then we'll go from there."

Baby Buzz lives up to hype in debut

Trainer Jim Ryerson won three races here Thursday, including the ninth with Baby Buzz.

A New Jersey-bred colt making his debut, Baby Buzz set the pace and drew off to 4 1/2-length victory as the even-money favorite in a statebred maiden special weight for 2-year-olds. He ran the five furlongs in 58.96 seconds.

"We were well bet," said Joel Kligman, the owner and breeder of Baby Buzz. "There were expectations, but it was nice."

Ryerson said he is hoping to start Baby Buzz in a first-level allowance race for statebreds, but none are offered in the Monmouth condition book that starts July 6. Unless a suitable alternative comes up, Baby Buzz could next face open company here in the Tyro Stakes on July 29.

"With 2-year-olds around here, you often don't have anywhere to go other than into the stakes," Ryerson said. "We'll wait and see how it develops."

Baby Buzz was the first winner for his sire, Defrere, since Defrere joined the ranks of New Jersey-based stallions in 2003. Defrere stands at Walnford Stud in Allentown.