Bare Necessities Heads Molly Pitcher Rivals

Bare Necessities, the starting highweight at 119 pounds, will be favored in Sunday's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park, but she will not have an easy time of it.

The Silver Deputy mare has been stabled at Monmouth since Tuesday and has been doing well in her gallops over the track, according to Socorro Flores, assistant to trainer Frank Kirby.

"She's been doing really good since we got here," Flores said of the five-time stakes winner. "And starting from the rail will fit her style."

This will be the mare's second start for Kirby. Bare Necessities, who has lost four in a row, will be reunited with jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. The California-based rider has the call on Meteor Storm Saturday for Bare Necessities' prior trainer, Wally Dollase, and will stay over to ride in the Molly Pitcher Sunday.

"The jockey knows her, which helps a lot," Flores said. "She should run well tomorrow."

Valdivia won the Paseana Handicap at Santa Anita in January on the gray mare.

The Molly Pitcher drew a well-matched field of seven.

The other Midwest shipper is La Reason, who ran third when Bare Necessities was second as the heavy favorite in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs last out. Trish Vance, daughter of trainer Dave Vance, will saddle the Labeeb filly, who will be ridden by Chuck Lopez for the first time.

"Chuck and I sat down yesterday and watched some tapes of her races," Vance said. "I wanted to give him an idea of how she runs. We drew post five, which I think is the perfect spot for her. She's trained super all week over the track."

Smok'n Frolic, trained by Todd Pletcher, will be making her Monmouth debut. The 5-year-old gray daughter of Smoke Glacken is one of the best-looking mares in training and has run to her looks. Eibar Coa will be aboard for the first time Sunday.

Yell will also be running at Monmouth for the first time, but she's trained by Shug McGaughey, who owns an outstanding Molly Pitcher record. The New York-based trainer has won the race five times, the first with Personal Ensign in 1988.

$300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt., ML Odds
1. Bare Necessities (KY), Jose Valdivia, Jr., 119, 8/5
2. Fircroft (KY), Stewart Elliott, 111, 15/1
3. Smok'n Frolic (FL), Eibar Coa, 118, 3/1
4. Pocus Hocus (KY), Jose A. Santos, 116, 5/1
5. La Reason (KY), Charles C. Lopez, 111, 10/1
6. Queen's Triomphe (NY), Jose A. Velez, Jr., 113, 20/1
7. Yell (KY), Joe Bravo, 114, 5/2