11/22/2005 1:00AM

The Beter Man Can at her best now


Last winter at the Fair Grounds meet, The Beter Man Can turned in one of the more memorable performances of the season with her 11-1 upset in the $100,000 Tiffany Lass. On Saturday, she ran another noteworthy race, when she helped open the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs with an eye-popping 7 1/4-length allowance win in her first start since April.

It was a powerful performance from a powerful filly, and for her effort in the seven-furlong race for fillies and mares she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

"I thought her race was awesome," said Patrick Mouton, who trains The Beter Man Can. "She went three-quarters in [1:09.40], which is a pretty good lick, and she kept going. She opened up on them. So, I was quite pleased with her. She came back good, and we'll be ready for Champions Day."

The Beter Man Can is being pointed for the $100,000 Ladies at 1 1/16 miles on Champions Day, Dec. 10. The race is restricted to fillies and mares bred in Louisiana.

"Timing-wise it's good," said Mouton.

The Beter Man Can was freshened following her seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn on April 15. It was evident she had a nice foundation for her comeback Saturday.

"She's had quite a lot of miles put under her," said Mouton. "I jogged her for a month and galloped her for a month before she even had her first work. So she had two months in her before she ever worked three-eighths of a mile."

The Beter Man Can is a 3-year-old by Lord Avie and races for Stan Seelig.

Spruce's Prince to Turf

Spruce's Prince won his third straight race in a tough allowance for Louisiana-breds on Sunday, and is headed to Champions Day. He will be pointed for the $100,000 Turf, said his trainer, Gerald Romero.

Spruce's Prince was a three-length winner of the allowance prep, which came following consecutive turf stakes wins in the $40,000 No Le Hace at Retama Park on Oct. 15, and the $103,000 Shiskabob at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 17.

"The horse is at the top of his game right now," said Romero.

"It seems like every race he's getting better, and he knows where the wire's at, and that's the main thing."

Spruce's Prince is a 4-year-old son of Spruce Bouquet, a sire whose offspring often get better with age, said Romero. Spruce's Prince is out of the mare Zarb's Queen, who is a half-sister to Caro's Royalty, a stakes winner of $587,743 who is also by Spruce Bouquet.

Spruce's Prince races for William Deckwa Jr.

Dirt options for Desert Wheat

Trainer Tony Richey on Tuesday was starting to look for a turf stakes for Desert Wheat, who won the $50,000 Gentilly by four lengths on Saturday. But with few options in the region right now, he also plans to nominate Desert Wheat to upcoming dirt stakes at Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn Park.

"If I can't find anything by the middle or end of December, I'll probably just wait and start him in the 3-year-old series at Oaklawn," said Richey. "I think this horse is as good on the dirt as he is on the grass."

Desert Wheat rallied from well back for second in the off-the-turf $100,000 El Joven at Retama in September. One start before the Gentilly, he was third in the $125,000 Bourbon County on turf at Keeneland, and he lost a shoe out of the gate in that race, Richey said.

Desert Wheat is a Louisiana-bred son of Wheaton. He races for Jerry D. Lee.

Thursday is sibling day

Zarb's Dahar, the probable favorite in the featured ninth, the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, and Over'nout, his 12-year-old brother who is in the fifth race, are one of two pairs of siblings in the entries for Thursday.

Hunters Halo and Run Like Hunter, who are also full brothers, are both on the also-eligible list for the fifth race, a $5,000 claiming race for horses bred in Louisiana.

Over'nout will be one of the top choices in the fifth based on his recent form and his career record of 25 wins from 112 starts. He is a 12-time winner at Louisiana Downs, while his brother Zarb's Dahar, 5, has won nine races in Bossier City.