08/02/2004 12:00AM

Stiffer competition for Meadow Fox


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Joe Orseno hopes Meadow Fox continues her progression Wednesday in the $41,000 six-furlong allowance feature for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.

A 3-year-old, Meadow Fox made her season debut June 13 and just missed scoring her second career win. Meadow Fox set the pace and was nailed in deep stretch by Storm Minstrel.

The 3-5 favorite, she got all the money in her next start, July 7.

Meadow Fox showed talent and consistency in those two races, earning Beyer Figures of 86 and 87. The highest Beyer earned by any of her opponents this year is the 82 recorded by Social Security in a Gulfstream Park claimer in mid-April.

If Meadow Fox handles her assignment Wednesday, a second-level allowance, Orseno will start shopping for a stakes.

"She came out of the last race great," said Orseno who is co-owner of Meadow Fox. "She's a filly I bought as a baby and let her mature and develop until I saw what she's showing me now. Now we're ready to go on with her."

The race poses an interesting challenge for Meadow Fox, who faces some more seasoned rivals in her eighth start.

"When you start running at this level for a $41,000 pot, you have to expect some tough competition," said Orseno. "It will be a good test for her."

Meadow Fox joins Artax Dancer and Wild Catseye as the 3-year-olds in the seven-horse field.

Wild Catseye, winner of a New Jersey-bred allowance last time out, takes the leap into open company. Trainer Benny Perkins Jr. said Wild Catseye might be sharper for this race than her last one.

Wild Catseye was hard pressed to get second in her season debut, in which she got a 73 Beyer, on June 4. She won last time out, on June 26, even though the Beyer slipped to 66.

"It was encouraging that she could regress a little bit and still win," said Perkins. "Typically, you would think the third race would be the best race. When a horse runs hard off a layoff, more often than not, they regress."

Perkins said he is banking on an improved effort.

"We would love to see her run even stronger than she did the first time," he said.

Babies save day for Ryerson

Trainer Jim Ryerson started the meet with Jersey Giant and Hurricane Shockey, his top older horses, on the shelf with injuries.

Ryerson weathered the crisis in good shape thanks to some talented 2-year-olds and a very determined mare.

Ryerson swept both Monmouth stakes last Saturday, when Park Avenue Ball and Doctor Voodoo ran one-two in the Tyro for 2-year-olds and Tangier Sound scored a front-running win in the Klassy Briefcase for fillies and mares at five furlongs on the turf.

"It's worked out this season," said Ryerson. "I was disappointing that we lost a couple of the older horses for this meet. Thank God we had some babies that could run."

Ryerson said he plans to run Park Avenue Ball and perhaps Doctor Voodoo in Monmouth's Grade 3, $100,000 Sapling on Aug. 28.

Tangier Sound posted her first win of the season in four starts.

"When she has things go her way, she's tough," said Ryerson of Tangier Sound, a 5-year-old mare. "I was starting to question whether we were going to win one with her. I was getting some negative vibes. It was nice to win one."