08/05/2008 11:00PM

Whirlie Bertie out for fourth straight


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Whirlie Bertie will look to extend her winning streak to four as she faces stakes company for the first time Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park.

A field of six or seven appears on target for the meet's top event for 3-year-old fillies on the main track. Other expected runners, according to Monmouth's stakes coordinator, Mike Melendez, include Acoma, African Violet, and Dance Hall Days. Possible entrants include By the Light, Maren's Meadow, Philly Gal, Shes All Eltish, Splendid Solution, and Sweet Vendetta.

Whirlie Bertie, 3 for 4 in her brief career, will reunite with jockey Calvin Borel, who was aboard for the first two victories of the winning streak at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Margolis.

Two of her wins came in the slop, a nice ace in the hole in the event of wet weather on the weekend.

The latest victory, on July 4, was an off-the-turf slop situation that produced a driving victory.

"We were looking at the last condition book at Churchill and there was a two-other-than that didn't go so, we decided to enter in that race for the main track only," Margolis said. "We weren't planning on running on the turf, as well as she had run on the dirt. It just kind of worked out our way and we got that shot to run back again.

"It was a very competitive race against older horses with more seasoning under their belts than us. We knew we'd have to step up again to face that kind of competitive horse at that time of year at Churchill."

Sprint Queen testing the turf

Trainer Alan Seewald is using a $41,000 second-level optional claiming race Friday as an experiment to see how Sprint Queen handles the turf.

The 5 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares drew nine, with S.S. Belle and Waltz Brightly entered for the main track only.

Sprint Queen gets post 8 for her grass debut.

"We'll see how she takes to it," Seewald said. "Her last race was a really nice effort, but the whole key is the turf."

Victor Molina, aboard for her off-the-turf victory last time out at Philadelphia Park, has the return call.

The consistent New Jersey-bred Miss Kneehigh, trained by Tony Wilson, will also make her grass debut. She is on a solid roll with two wins and two seconds at the meet. Daniel Centeno has the return assignment.

Ahvee's Destiny, in contrast, has extensive grass experience. This will be her 10th straight appearance in a turf sprint, and she ran second here last time out in a very game effort. Stewart Elliott rides for trainer Linda Rice.

Star of Sahm is the only entrant in for the $32,000 claiming tag. A 7-year-old winner of eight races, she is looking to regroup following five straight losses in which the deficits hit double digits.

Navin Mangalee will be aboard for trainer Patricia Farro.

Although winless in three races this season, Message of a Myth has not lost by more than 2 1/4 lengths. Trainer Jane Cibelli will try to narrow the gap by adding blinkers. Leading rider Jose Lezcano has the return call.

* Terrill Brown, a member of the Monmouth race office last year, and trainer Chad Brown are celebrating the birth of their daughter Ava Malone Brown on Tuesday.