08/21/2007 12:00AM

Promenade Girl back at scene


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Promenade Girl earned her breakthrough victory last season at Monmouth in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Stakes, beating Round Pond, who later won the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Larry Murray hopes a return to Monmouth Park Saturday for this year's Molly Pitcher will get Promenade Girl back into the win column.

She is winless in five races since last year's Molly Pitcher, including three straight third-place finishes to start this season.

Promenade Girl rallied for the show spot in her comeback race, an overnight stakes here on May 19.

"Her best shot to win was in her first race," Murray said "She got beat two noses. We got out of it what we wanted. She hadn't run in a while and she came out of it in real good shape. It was disappointing that she didn't win it because I think she was probably the best that day."

She then jumped into two deep handicaps, the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and the Grade 2 Delaware at Delaware Park.

In the Phipps, Take D' Tour beat Ginger Punch by a neck with Promenade Girl 8 1/4 lengths farther back.

"The first two finishers were two real bears," Murray said. "She had a little trouble with the racetrack that day. She had never been to Belmont, and I think she was a little confused by the big, sweeping turn. Not that she would have beaten those two, but she might have been a little closer."

Murray knew the Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles was a stretch, but, he said, "$1 million was a very tempting pot."

There will be $300,000 on the line in the 1o1/16-mile Molly Pitcher, and a small but solid field is taking shape. In addition to Promenade Girl, stakes coordinator Mike Melendez expects multiple graded stakes winner India; Grade 1 Humana Distaff winner Hystericalady, who is currently at trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's Northern California base; and Kettleoneup, will travel in from Kentucky for trainer Michael Tomlinson, who had to shop for a new rider.

Regular jockey Calvin Borel has another engagement that afternoon - Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in the Travers at Saratoga. So Tomlinson lined up Jose Lezcano, third in the rider standings behind Joe Bravo and Eddie Castro.

Man of Danger ready second off layoff

Man of Danger was a solid third in his comeback, a turf sprint at Delaware Park on July 24. Any improvement in the follow-up start on Thursday at Monmouth will make the 5-year-old gelding the one to beat in the $45,000 third-level allowance feature with a claiming option of $50,000.

Man of Danger has the rail in the five-furlong grass race with Chuckie Lopez aboard for trainer Bruce Levine.

"He's coming up to this good," Levine said. "He might have needed that first race. I think second race off the layoff, he's going to be tough."

The Delaware race was Man of Danger's first since December at Aqueduct, at which point Levine decided the horse needed a freshening in Florida.

"He wasn't doing any good at that point," Levine said. "He's not real durable, that's his biggest problem. He runs about five times and then he tails off. He's fit now and ready to go."

Also in the race is Holly Time, who is in the best form of his career with consecutive allowance wins at Monmouth, the first on dirt and the most recent on turf. Chris DeCarlo will be aboard.

Diamond Wildcat is one of four in the eight-horse field carrying the $50,000 tag. He most recently ran second in the John McSorley Stakes here on July 15.