08/03/2005 11:00PM

Ryerson takes shot in Colleen


OCEANPORT, N.J. - This will be a very busy stakes weekend for trainer Jim Ryerson at Monmouth Park.

He will saddle Park Avenue Ball, one of the leading contenders in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday. His action begins, though, on Saturday, when he sends out Livermore Valley in the $60,000 Colleen Stakes.

The 5 1/2-furlong Colleen is the traditional Monmouth prep for the $100,000 Sorority on Sept. 3, the major event of the meet for 2-year-old fillies.

has run twice, both times at Monmouth. She is a half-sister to Tangier Sound, Ryerson's stakes-winning mare who excelled in turf sprints.

Grass might eventually figure in Livermore Valley's future. For the present, though, she is progressing nicely on the main track.

Livermore Valley debuted at long odds (16-1) on June 2 and ran well, finishing second to Fantast, a Todd Pletcher trainee who is also in the Colleen. Livermore Valley caught a sloppy track next time out and responded with a three-length victory.

"She's run two very nice races," Ryerson said. "She ran even better the second time."

Ryerson shopped without success for an allowance race. When nothing materialized, the Colleen became the logical next step.

"She seems to have the quality to deserve this chance," Ryerson said.

Aaron Gryder will ride in place of Dale Beckner, who is recuperating from a broken ankle.

is the only filly in the six-horse field with stakes experience. She is also the only horse who did not win last time out.

She stepped up from the maiden victory to the Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park, where she pressed the pace before fading to fourth. Chris DeCarlo, as usual, has the call for Pletcher at Monmouth.

The New Jersey-bred takes a double leap. She goes from a maiden win in her debut to a stakes and moves from statebred into open company. Jose Velez Jr. rides for trainer Frank Generazio.

Ten Halos, trained by Michael Gorham, is unbeaten in two starts, both at Delaware Park. Josiah Hampshire Jr., who was aboard for the last race, has the return call.

Miss McPunch also has won two races out of town. Trained by Jayne Vaders, Miss McPunch was fourth in her debut at Philadelphia Park. The odds dropped from 10-1 in that initial race to 2-1 for the next start, which produced a one-length win.

Winning Toast pressed the early pace before drawing away to a four-length win in her Monmouth debut.