Sunday’s $100,000 Open Mind Handicap, which honors the
3-year-old filly champion of 1989 and one of the best New Jersey-bred runners
of all time, should live up to the high standards of the six-furlong event.
A field of nine state-bred fillies and mares will line up for this edition,
with John Petrini’s Love That Dance back to seek a repeat. The daughter of Not
for Love scored by three and a half lengths under Joe Bravo in 2009, but comes
into Sunday’s test off a six-month layoff.
“She came in just three weeks ago,” said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. “We gave her
the winter off at Oak Ridge Farm in Ocala.
“She came in looking fit, and she’s had two nice works since she’s been here,”
the trainer said. “You’d always like to have another good work in them, but she
should be ready for this.”
The 4-year-old filly our of the Broad Brush mare Broad Exchange has a history
of firing fresh. In her 2-year-old debut in 2008, she went wire to wire and
finished first, but was disqualified for drifting out in deep stretch. She came
right back to break her maiden three weeks later.
“She had a long season last year, because we kept her going over the winter and
through the summer,” Perkins said. “So last fall, we decided to give her the
winter off. She’s always been sound,” the trainer said, “and she’s come back
Love That Dance has won five races at three different tracks, including the New
Jersey Juvenile at the Meadowlands, the Open Mind here, and the Maryland
Million Oaks at Laurel.