01/16/2010 12:00AM

Bella Medaglia just might get her chance


When it has not been freezing this winter in New Orleans, it has been raining. With two more races moved from turf to dirt on Saturday because of wet conditions, Fair Grounds already has lost 61 turf races during its meet, 11 more than were moved from turf to dirt in the entire 2008-2009 racing season. The latest round of rain that came through late Friday was forecast to subside Saturday night, but by then it might be too late to preserve the two grass races carded for Monday.

One of them, race 6, an entry-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies, is co-featured on a 10-race card. Race 9 is a Louisiana-bred second-level dirt-sprint allowance also open to $25,000 claimers.

The sixth drew a field of nine, including main-track-only Bella Medaglia, who could be favored if she gets to start. Bella Medaglia, a $200,000 2-year-old in-training purchase last April at Keeneland, won her maiden two races ago in her second career start when stretched out to a route by trainer Glenn Delahoussaye. On Jan. 3, she had the misfortune of running into Quiet Temper, who was hand-ridden to victory while Bella Medaglia was hard-ridden to a second-place finish. One wonders if, after only 15 days of rest, Bella Medaglia will be prepared to repeat her most recent performance, and the competition Monday should at least be decent, even in a winnowed-down off-the-turf situation.

Elusive Jozi and Cinco Emayo both won their maidens on dirt, Elusive Jozi in a Dec. 19 Fair Grounds sprint. Trained by Ralph Nicks, Elusive Jozi had pre-race trouble when she finished fifth at a well-bet 7-2 in her career debut Nov. 19 at Churchill, and she ran much better in a half-length last-out victory. Elusive Jozi has both middle-distance and turf in her pedigree, has worked twice since her maiden win, and might still be moving forward.

Cinco Emayo won her career debut sprinting on Churchill dirt for trainer Tom Amoss and then finished second of eight in a Fair Grounds turf-route allowance race Dec. 21.

In Fass Feat, Amoss also might have a live runner in race 9, the Louisiana-bred allowance. Fass Feat has turned in three Fair Grounds works since finishing a closing third in a two-turn Delta Downs sprint race Dec. 18. Before declining with age, Fass Feat won the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint going six furlongs on the Fair Grounds main track. He may be able to run down the speedy Mr. Skie's Spirit, the likely favorite.