08/05/2004 12:00AM

Stalking favorites look good in Colleen


OCEANPORT, N.J. - With most of the 10 entrants likely to be looking for the early lead, the pace scenario should work to the advantage of the likely favorites in Saturday's $60,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park.

I'm a Dixie Girl and Joyous Song figure to vie for favoritism in the 5 1/2-furlong Colleen, the ninth of 10 races on Saturday, and either could win via a stalking trip. I'm a Dixie Girl comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs, an effort that resulted in a Beyer Speed Figure of 66, which is among the best in Saturday's field. Trainer Bruce Levine, who has been winning at an impressive 36 percent clip at the meet thus far, has tabbed Stewart Elliott to ride I'm a Dixie Girl, who came from just off the pace to win her maiden two starts back.

Like I'm a Dixie Girl, Joyous Song also earned a Beyer Figure of 66 in her latest, a 6 3/4-length win against maidens. She rated just off the pace and cruised to victory after making a move on the turn, and that kind of run would suit her perfectly in the Colleen. With leading rider Joe Bravo at Saratoga to ride Gygistar in the Whitney, Joe Velez Jr. picks up the mount on Joyous Song, who breaks from post 4.

Northern Babe, a winner of the Tippett Stakes at Colonial Downs in her latest start, also fits well in the Colleen. She won the Tippett, which was originally scheduled for the turf but moved to a sloppy main track, by 1 1/4 lengths with an off-the-pace move, her second win in three career starts. She beat Heartful Hero, who held well for the place after dueling for the lead from the start. Eric Camacho, who rode Northern Babe last time, is scheduled to travel to Monmouth for the mount.

Heartful Hero, meanwhile, also returns for the Colleen, and Tommy Turner gets the call. Heartful Hero is expected to be involved from the start once again, although she is likely to again have company on the front end.

Elke, a recent allowance winner over this track, is also quick from the gate. So is Feelingoodisenuf, who handily beat maiden claimers in her latest, and California shipper Lady Siphonica. Geminized, who beat maidens at Penn National in her debut, is another who may help to provide a quick, contested pace.

Completing the field are Philadelphia Park shipper Irish Meadow and Churchill Downs import Ring and a Prayer. Post time for the first race on Saturday is 12:55 p.m. Eastern.