10/11/2006 12:00AM

Asi Siempre to try dirt for first time


Asi Siempre is a good horse on turf, but not good enough to be considered a threat in a Breeders' Cup race. So when her connections ran her in last weekend's Spinster Stakes over Keeneland's Polytrack, they did so with the idea that if she ran well, the Breeders' Cup Distaff would become a viable option.

Asi Siempre ran very well, winning the Spinster by 2 1/4 lengths and beating some of the top older females in training, thus earning a berth in the starting gate for the $2 million Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Trainer Patrick Biancone on Wednesday confirmed that Asi Siempre would run in the Distaff, which will be her first start on dirt.

"Until you try you never know, but she's bred to go on dirt and we had that in mind for a long time," said Biancone, who trains Asi Siempre for Martin Schwartz. "We had her nominated to the [Fleur de Lis] in June, but I decided at the last minute not to run."

Though Biancone said he trained Asi Siempre on dirt at Saratoga, she does not show an official breeze on dirt in at least one year. She has breezed either on the all-weather surfaces at Turfway Park and Keeneland or the turf at Saratoga.

Biancone went 9 for 28 at Churchill Downs last spring with horses who mostly trained over Turfway Park's synthetic surface.

"I think they can run from Polytrack and win at Churchill Downs," Biancone said. "She's very fresh, and that's important, too."

Though Asi Siempre won the Spinster by 2 1/4 lengths, the other eight horses in the field were separated by 2 1/2 lengths. That may explain why many of the Spinster also-rans are still being pointed to the Distaff, including Lemons Forever (5th), Happy Ticket (6th), Summerly (7th), and Spun Sugar (8th). Spinster runner-up Soul Search is possible, according to trainer Neil Howard.

Andrew Leggio, the trainer of Happy Ticket, said his filly's trip, more so than the Polytrack, hampered her in the Spinster.

"She was in a trap all the way around there, had nowhere to run," Leggio said. "When she finally got room, the rail closed up."

Leggio said Garrett Gomez would ride Happy Ticket back in the Distaff.

Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Spun Sugar, said owner Frank Stronach hasn't definitively decided to put up the $180,000 to supplement Spun Sugar to the race, but indications are that he will do so.

Meanwhile, Pletcher's Fleet Indian could have earned the favorite's role for the Distaff with her off-the-pace win over Balletto in the Beldame at Belmont. It was the eighth straight win for Fleet Indian and dispelled the myth that she has to have things her own way.

Balletto and Round Pond, second and third in the Beldame, are confirmed for the Distaff. Take D' Tour, who finished last in the Beldame, will not proceed to the Distaff, trainer David Fawkes said.

Fleet Indian figures to vie for favoritism with Pine Island, the 3-year-old Shug McGaughey-trained filly who won the Alabama and Gazelle in her last two starts.