03/01/2005 12:00AM

Bailey gets mount on Storm Surge


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Dallas Stewart has decided to replace Robby Albarado with Jerry Bailey on Storm Surge for the March 12 Louisiana Derby. Storm Surge won the Lecomte Stakes and finished third in the Risen Star with Albarado, the leading jockey at Fair Grounds, in the irons. "Robby did a great job on Storm Surge," said Stewart. "The decision is not a knock on anybody."

Why the switch to Bailey?

"He's Jerry Bailey," Stewart said. "We're hoping his big-race experience will be a factor in the Louisiana Derby."

Albarado's agent, Lenny Pike, downplayed the significance of the rider switch.

"Jerry Bailey isn't coming to Fair Grounds to ride Storm Surge," Pike said, noting that Bailey has the mount on Badge of Silver in the New Orleans Handicap on the same day. "He just happens to be here that day to ride Storm Surge."

Scipion and Real Dandy, one-two in the Risen Star, are slated to return in the Louisiana Derby, along with Rush Bay. Trainer Bobby Frankel, who is bringing Badge of Silver in for the New Orleans 'Cap, will bring along High Limit to run in the Louisiana Derby for his 3-year-old debut.

"He's coming," said Frankel. "He's a nice horse, and he's training well."

The undefeated High Limit has won both of his races by a combined 18 1/2 lengths. Both came last fall at Delaware Park while under the care of Anthony Dutrow. The Louisiana Derby will be High Limit's first start for Frankel, who will keep regular jockey Ramon Dominguez on the colt, a son of Maria's Mon. Frankel saddled Peace Rules to win the 2003 Louisiana Derby.

Todd Pletcher, who is bringing Pollard's Vision in for the New Orleans Handicap and Proud Accolade for the Louisiana Derby, may also bring his 3-year-old colt Vicarage for the Louisiana Derby.

Texcess, winner of the California Cup Juvenile and the Delta Jackpot Stakes, may also run in the Louisiana Derby, said his trainer, Paul Aguirre.

"It depends on how he works next week," said Aguirre, "but we'll probably come."

A gelded son of In Excess, Texcess has never been off the board in six starts, with a record of 3-2-1.

Mr. Sulu heads Dixie Poker Ace

Mr. Sulu has been tabbed the 122-pound highweight for Saturday's $75,000 Dixie Poker Ace Handicap at Fair Grounds. The race is for Louisiana-breds at 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass. Trained by Josie Carroll, Mr. Sulu won the Dixie Poker Ace in 2003 but didn't run in the race last year. Mr. Sulu will be facing many of the same horses he trounced in December in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf, along with a few new players.

Lac Laronge, impressive beating open company on the grass earlier in the meet, will carry 119 pounds, the same as the Champions Day Classic winner, Witt Ante. The Steve Asmussen-trained Spritely Walker will carry 118 pounds in his turf debut. Last year's Dixie Poker Ace winner, Bebe Garcon, is in at 116 pounds. Others expected to run include Spruce's Prince (117), White Star (117), Screen Idol (116), Setemup Joe (114), Prince Slew (113), and Two Ducks in a Row (113).

G P Fleet headed for Muniz

G P Fleet rebounded from his 11th-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Turf with a determined front-end score Saturday in the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. He will try the Grade 3 Melvin Muniz Memorial Handicap March 19 next.

"I think he is a Mervin Muniz-type of horse," said his trainer, Steve Flint.