03/01/2003 12:00AM

Add two to La. Derby


NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana Derby picked up two more prospective starters, when the connections of Peace Rules and Defrere's Vixen announced their intentions to run in the race.

There now are seven probable runners for the Grade 2, $750,000 Derby on Sunday. Badge of Silver and Kafwain will be the favorites, with Funny Cide, a troubled fifth in the Holy Bull in his last start, shipping in from Florida. Also expected to run are Lone Star Sky, second to Badge of Silver in the Risen Star; and Prince Alphie, a winner of two straight route races.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Defrere's Vixen was sold this past week by one of Asmussen's clients, Jack Oleson, and bought by another, Heiligbrodt Racing. A Defrere colt who was bred in Colorado, Defrere's Vixen was third last out in the Risen Star after finishing fourth here in the Lecomte Stakes.

Peace Rules, who trains in California with Bobby Frankel, is expected to fly here Thursday with Kafwain and Atlantic Ocean, who will run Saturday in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Peace Rules scratched out of the San Rafael on March 1 at Santa Anita in favor of the Louisiana Derby, which will be his first dirt start since last summer. Peace Rules lost a pair of dirt sprints to start his career, but was purchased privately after a four-length maiden win in a grass route race. He won the Generous and, in his last start, the Hill Rise Stakes on turf.

Badge of Silver was scheduled to have his final work for the race on Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather.

Short Oaks

A fairly short field also is expected for Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks, a Grade 2 race with a $350,000 purse. In addition to Atlantic Ocean, the probables for the race are Afternoon Dreams, Belle of Perintown, and Lady Tak. Fair Grounds racing officials said My Trusty Cat and another horse or two also could start.

Lady Tak has won all four of her starts, including two stakes, and could be a narrow favorite over Atlantic Ocean. Belle of Perintown also is a top contender, having easily won the Grade 2 Silverbulletday here in her last start. Belle of Perintown, trained by Eddie Kenneally, worked five furlongs here Saturday in 1:01.80.

Big Team Spirit tries for four in a row

Big Team Spirit will try to win his fourth consecutive race and third straight at this meet when he starts in the featured ninth race on Monday.

Owner Richard Englander and trainer Scott Hansen made a great claim with Big Team Spirit, who they took for $20,000 last September at Del Mar. Big Team Spirit finished second in California-bred allowance races in his first two starts for them before going on his winning streak. Big Team Spirit runs for a $75,000 claiming tag Monday in a race also open to third-level allowance horses.

Big Team Spirit won by only a nose at the class level below this last out, but he showed a new dimension by rallying from off the pace, and the horse he edged, Guapazo, has ability.

The comebacking Freeway Ticket has worked sharply and fits in this race on class.