08/11/2008 12:00AM

What's next for Maren's Meadow?


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Larry Jones hasn't had the time to plot a next race for Maren's Meadow following her front-running victory last Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Monmouth Oaks.

Jones, based at Delaware Park, has his hands full running horses throughout the region, including Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell, who is heading to Saratoga for the Grade 1 Alabama on Saturday.

When the dust settles after next weekend, Jones hopes to catch his breath and map out a schedule for his two talented 3-year-old fillies.

One thing Jones knows for certain: Maren's Meadow came out of her loose-on-the-lead 4 1/2-length victory at Monmouth Park in good shape.

"We really don't know where we're going next, but she came out of it really good," Jones said Monday morning. "Everything is great. That race, the Monmouth Oaks, was our objective."

One possible option is the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff on Sept. 27. Maren's Meadow already owns a win over the Turfway Park strip in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, so the synthetic surface is not a potential impediment.

There is also the $100,000 Go for Wand Stakes at Delaware Park on Aug. 31 to consider.

Acoma also hit the road for the Monmouth Oaks, shipping down from Saratoga for trainer David Carroll. She ran second after stumbling at the break.

Acoma, the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes winner at Churchill Downs in late May, also wasn't helped by the scratches of Populist and Open Skies - potential pace factors who might have run with Maren's Meadow.

"She stumbled quite badly, the scratches hurt us as far as the pace factor, but Larry's filly ran very good," Carroll said. "It's tough to run down the lone speed. We never switched leads down the stretch, so I'm not sure what that's about."

Carroll said Acoma's previous race, a fourth behind Grade 1 winners Music Note and Little Belle in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park, might have taken more out of her than expected.

"I don't think it was her best race," Carroll said. "Maybe she's feeling the effects from the Coaching Club Oaks and the traveling, because she didn't have the same kick."

Datts Our Girl set for peak effort

Datts Our Girl is moving in the right direction heading into Wednesday's third-level optional $50,000 claiming feature for fillies and mares on the turf.

This will be the third start of the season for Datts Our Girl, a 4-year-old trained Mark Hennig.

"It looks like she's ready for something good," said assistant Rob Rader. "She's doing very well and she's really come around as a 4-year-old, not that she ran bad at 3. She acts like she wants to go on now."

Datts Our Girl was modestly successful last year, winning 3 of 11 starts. She started the new campaign like a mare ready to take a major step forward in her two races at Monmouth.

She faces seven rivals in the one-mile race. None is entered for the $50,000 claiming option.

Datts Our Girl caught an off-the-turf situation in her season debut on June 4 and was an encouraging third.

"I can't even tell you why we stayed in," Rader said. "She trains okay over the dirt, but she ran very well, considering all the time she spent on the grass. Even though she was third, I thought it was a very good race for her."

Then it was back to the grass on July 11 for a four-wide move that produced a near-miss second. Datts Our Girl lost by only a half-length and earned a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

"We almost got it," Rader said. "Again she ran very well on a turf course that wasn't helping come-from-behind horses. If she runs back to that race, she can be very tough."

Snow Cone will also be making her third start at the meet for trainer Joe Orseno, having run fifth and sixth in a pair of overnight stakes.

Gottcha Gold heads Iselin probables

Older horses are in the Monmouth spotlight Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

Stakes coordinator Mike Melendez lists last year's winner Gottcha Gold, Actin Good, Five Steps, Kiss the Kid, and Shopton Lane as probable runners.

Trainer Todd Pletcher nominated five, and Melendez expects one runner from the quintet of Cowtown Cat, Fairbanks, Pleasant Strike, Ravel, and Sam P. Fairbanks just won an overnight stakes last Saturday at Saratoga.