06/29/2005 11:00PM

U.N. no easy task for Better Talk Now


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Better Talk Now raced in obscurity last summer at Monmouth Park.

He returns Saturday a Breeders' Cup winner and the horse to beat in a field of 10 for the Grade 1, $750,000 , New Jersey's premier grass race.

The U.N. will be part of Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships on ESPN from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern. The show also features the Suburban Handicap, the Ohio Derby, and New York Handicap.

The 1 3/8-mile U.N. attracted a solid field that includes last year's winner, Request for Parole; Cool Conductor, who won the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico last time out; License to Run, the romping winner of the off-the-turf San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita; Navesink River, who took the Grade 2 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park; and Silverfoot, who captured the last two editions of the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Better Talk Now will make his second start at Monmouth. He ran second to Megantic in the $60,000 Battlefield Stakes last year.

The Battlefield helped propel Better Talk Now to a stellar season that included two Grade 1 victories.

"That race was a pretty good effort," trainer H. Graham Motion said. "Although it was just an overnight stakes, those same horses could have run for $100,000 to $150,000."

Better Talk Now started this season with a victory in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct and most recently finished fourth in the slowly run Dixie.

Motion also entered Shake the Bank as a rabbit to insure a lively pace.

Motion got good news about his rider Thursday morning. Ramon Dominguez, involved in a spill Tuesday at Delaware Park, will be back aboard Better Talk Now.

"We had a little scare with Ramon," Motion said. "It looks like he'll be okay to ride on Saturday, so all systems are go."

Request for Parole makes only his second start of the year. He was fourth in his season debut, an allowance race at Belmont Park.

"I would have liked to have had one more race in him this year, but it's taken us a while to get him back," said trainer Stanley Hough. "He got really sick on us after the Breeders' Cup and it's taken us this long to get him back. Hopefully, that one race will be enough to get him ready."

There are no entries in the U.N. The Motion duo race uncoupled, as do License to Run and Exterior, who are both trained by Bobby Frankel.