06/15/2006 12:00AM

Tough one for Love Locket


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Love Locket returns in a challenging spot Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Making her first start since the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct last November, Love Locket faces five rivals in the $60,000 Dearly Precious for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs.

The very strong Dearly Precious field includes Win McCool, the pacesetting runner-up in the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Stakes at Belmont Park last time out; Sensation, fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in her final start last season; Livermore Valley, winner of the Colleen Stakes here last August; and My Lucky Free, who most recently ran fourth in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

Love Locket won her maiden here last September in her first two-turn try. That victory served as a springboard to consecutive stakes wins at Delaware Park leading to the Demoiselle, where she bobbled at the break and finished fourth.

This will be the first sprint for Love Locket since her debut at Saratoga. She has been training all spring at Monmouth with trainer Todd Pletcher's New Jersey division.

"She's been training good since he brought her back here," said assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta. "She hasn't missed a beat."

Win McCool figures to be the filly to catch. She set a very fast pace in the seven-furlong Nassau County (22.38 seconds and 44.71) and had a three-length lead in midstretch before drifting late, opening the door for Hello Liberty to slip through to win by a neck.

Win McCool's lone win in five career starts came at this same six-furlong distance.

Livermore Valley always runs well at Monmouth, where she is 2-1-0 in three starts.

"She likes it here," said trainer Jim Ryerson.

Livermore Valley was a close second in her debut here last season before reeling off consecutive wins, including the Colleen, the traditional prep for Monmouth's Sorority Stakes. Livermore Valley never made it to the Sorority because of a severe case of colic.

"She was lucky to make it through," Ryerson said.

Livermore Valley most recently won an allowance race at Philadelphia Park by a head.

"It wasn't easy, but she ran well," Ryerson said.

Gleaming Elegance completes the field.

West Long Branch field up in the air

The $60,000 West Long Branch Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile Saturday suffers from being in direct competition with an identical race Friday at Belmont, the $65,000 A Wild Ride Stakes.

The makeup of both races was in flux, as Cherry Bomb and Emerald Earrings were cross-entered in both stakes.

Princess Pelona is on target for the West Long Branch following a demanding effort in the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap at Pimlico.

Based in Maryland with trainer Michael Trombetta, Princess Pelona dictated the pace in that race before fading to seventh.

Master David possible for allowance

Master David, one of the leading contenders in the 2004 Triple Crown races, could be headed to Monmouth saturday for a $40,000 second-level allowance race. Trainer Bob Barbara also entered the 5-year-old Master David in the $50,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap on Sunday at Finger Lakes.

Master David has not won since the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 8, 2004. He went on to run 12th in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Belmont Stakes for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Barbara took over his training before Master David's last race, a third in an Aqueduct allowance on April 27.