05/22/2009 11:00PM

Return visit for Maren's Meadow

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Maren's Meadow, winning last summer's Monmouth Oaks, has been working strongly at Delaware Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Larry Jones knew Maren's Meadow would love Monmouth Park when he brought her here last summer for the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

Her front-running style was perfectly suited to Monmouth's speed-favoring strip. Maren's Meadow did not disappoint, winning by 4 1/2 decisive lengths.

Jones hopes a return to Monmouth on Monday is the tonic for the filly's recent woes. The 4-year-old is one of the top contenders in the $70,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile and 70 yards.

The Monmouth Beach and the $65,000 Lamplighter Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf are the top events on the Memorial Day program. The 11-race card gets underway at 12:50 p.m.

Maren's Meadow has not won since the Monmouth Oaks, a five-race slump. Jones was forced to regroup after she was soundly beaten in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park in early March.

Maren's Meadow appears to have snapped back, based on a pair of sharp recent workouts at Delaware Park.

"She's doing well now," Jones said. "She's had her ups and downs, but right now she's training well. We're bringing her back because she loved that track so well last year."

Jones is hoping a rebound effort that leads to a longer-term goal: Monmouth's Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Stakes on Aug. 30.

Awesome Ashley, trained by Todd Pletcher, is also bidding to regroup in this spot. The winner of a pair of overnight stakes at Aqueduct over the winter, Awesome Ashley found the competition stiffer in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct, finishing fourth, and the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland (fifth).

She joined Pletcher's Monmouth division earlier this month, working twice in preparation for the stakes.

"Todd thought it was a good spot," assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta said. "She's training good. We'll just hope for the best."

Lamplighter: At home on grass

A recommendation from Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. convinced trainer Kelly Breen to point Sleepless Knight to the turf.

It looks like Angel knew best.

The Lamplighter will be the third start for Sleepless Knight, who will be ridden by Joe Bravo, one of the circuit's top grass riders.

The road to turf started at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida over the winter when Cordero breezed the unraced colt.

"The first time Angel worked him, it was on the dirt," Breen said. "He came back and asked if he had turf pedigree, because he had such a high action. I said he did, but he was working so well on the dirt, I was planning to keep him on it. He said 'No, put him on the turf.' "

The first two races were at Gulfstream: a hard-charging second in his debut followed by a drawing-off victory.

"We hope he turns out as nice as we think he is," Breen said.

Beacon Hill Road also ran twice at Gulfstream this winter, finishing a close third in the Dania Beach Stakes and fourth in the Hallandale Beach Stakes in February.

The colt got sick after that race, developing a bad cough.

"He's better now," trainer Jason Servis said. "I hope this is a good starting point."

Tamborim, winner of a pair of Florida-bred stakes, looks for his first open victory since his maiden win at Arlington Park last September.