12/20/2005 12:00AM

Amoss filly looks best


Thursday marks the beginning of the sixth racing week at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs. And as with any other human endeavor, something that at first seems strange over time becomes routine. But there are regular reminders that this is not Fair Grounds. No flocks of ibis fly up from the turf course, and turf races themselves have been exceedingly rare here by Fair Grounds standards. And as of Sunday, trainer Tom Amoss had started only 14 horses at the meet.

Amoss has done fine with limited starters, compiling 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds. But the pace of his participation pales compared to the past; at the last Fair Grounds meet, he racked up 41 wins from 146 starters.

Part of the explanation, Amoss said, lies with four-day racing weeks that afford limited opportunities. "If they don't get in," he said, "you don't see them again for three weeks."

Amoss also said his stable has cycled into a slower-than-usual mode.

"Typically 60 percent to 70 percent of my stable is ready to run at a given time," he said. "I'd say right now we're operating at 40 to 50 percent and won't be back in that regular mode until January."

But Amoss entered two in the featured ninth race Thursday, an entry-level sprint allowance for 2-year-old fillies. Both are owned by the Zayat Stables of Egyptian businessman Aamed Zayat, who jumped full force into the American Thoroughbred business in 2005. Amoss said one - - probably will await another spot.

"We've got some options with both of those fillies, and we didn't want to run them against each other," Amoss said.

The race also drew entries from trainers Steve Asmussen and Cole Norman, one-two in the standings. Asmussen entered the rail-drawn, once-started , winner of a July 10 maiden race at Churchill Downs.

Norman sends out , goes for trainer Carl Bowman.

But Amoss, whose 100 wins in 2005 rank 32nd nationally, might have the right horse this time. New Hope Seven won her debut Oct. 1 at Turfway, came back with a dead heat for third in a Churchill allowance race, and was beaten a half-length here Dec. 2 by a resolute Asmussen-trained filly named Shimmering Sunset. New Hope Seven finished more than nine lengths clear of the show horse that day, and may fall into a more favorable stalking trip Thursday.