12/18/2008 1:00AM

Ballymore Lady gets tune-up


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Ballymore Lady, a five-time winner of more than $210,000 who ran in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs last time out, tops 11 fillies and mares entered for Saturday's allowance feature at Tampa Bay Downs. Only 10 will be allowed to start in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Daniel Centeno has been named aboard Ballymore Lady by trainer Eddie Kenneally. A 5-year-old War Chant mare, Ballymore Lady will be making her first start since finishing ninth in the Cardinal, a paceless nine-furlong event in which the leaders crawled through an opening six furlongs in 1:17.97

Saturday's race serves as an unofficial tune-up for future turf stakes here this meet, including the Grade 3, $150,000 Endeavour Stakes which will be run over 1 1/16 miles as part of Festival Preview Day on Feb. 14.

All of Ballymore Lady's wins have come on grass. She has finished first or second in six of her nine outings this season while splitting her time between tough allowance and stakes company. She fell just a half-length short in the $100,000 Indian Maid Stakes at Hawthorne in September and also was third behind Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill in June.

Street Sounds, from the Michael Matz stable, finished in a photo with Ballymore Lady in a fourth-level allowance at Keeneland in her most recent start. While winless in eight starts this season, Street Sounds is a three-time winner on turf and has been keeping top company from Woodbine to Belmont. She has the class to be a factor in this group.

La Hernanda, who last raced in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct, seeks her first win in the U.S. for trainer Christophe Clement. A four-time winner in Europe, La Hernanda will be handled by Paco Lopez.

First Ascent, a consistent Cherokee Run 4-year-old, comes into this off a late-closing fourth in the Fairy Garden Stakes at Aqueduct. The lightly raced First Ascent, trained by Leigh Delacour, has a win from four outings this season with that victory coming against allowance company at Laurel.