04/23/2009 12:00AM

Better luck all Pretty Squall needs


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - When things fall into place for Pretty Squall, she can be one tough opponent. But in some respects, she has been unable to fulfill her potential due to trouble in key stakes appearances over the last year. Trainer Morris Nicks is hoping things will be different on Saturday, when Pretty Squall seeks the first open-company stakes win of her career in the $50,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star Park.

"When stepping one up like that, you need a good clean trip," Nicks said. "When we've had her in places tougher, she never had the right things go on. She's had a lot of bad-luck trips."

Pretty Squall will start as one of the top choices in the Irving, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares that also drew stakes winners Love to Tell, Nice Inheritance, R Charlie's Angel, and Cigar Starter. The race is one of three supporting stakes on the Grade 3 Texas Mile undercard, and all serve as preps for the rich Lone Star Million Day program of stakes here May 25.

Pretty Squall, who dominated in a pair of Texas-bred turf stakes last fall at Retama Park, defeated open company in a $62,500 optional claiming turf route at Fair Grounds on Feb. 24. The effort made her 3-1 in the $60,000 Fortin in her last start March 21, and she finished a close fifth after a troubled trip. The Fair Grounds stakes came at about 1 1/16 miles, and Nicks likes the fact that Pretty Squall is shortening up in distance Saturday.

She will be ridden by Luis Quinonez, and the trick Saturday will be getting the right kind of trip from post 11.

Atlantic Slick goes for three straight

Atlantic Slick, who won back-to-back turf races at Fair Grounds in February and March, will attempt to make it three in a row when he makes his stakes debut in the $50,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds drew a full field of 12.

Atlantic Slick won a maiden special weight at a mile on turf on Feb. 8, then came back and was sharp to take a $50,000 optional claimer when shortening up to 5 1/2 furlongs March 29.

"That race wasn't by design," said Nicks. "The meet was over and the mile and a sixteenth race for him did not go. But I was impressed, because when he turned for home, he took off."

Nicks said he likes the move back to two turns for Atlantic Slick.

"I think he'll handle distance better," he said. "I'm hoping he's that type of horse. He broke his maiden pretty impressively around two turns."

Quinonez will ride Atlantic Slick.

* Affirmed Truth will be looking for her second consecutive stakes win when she starts in the $50,000 Richland Hills for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. She won the $50,000 Rainbow Miss in her last start March 28.

"Six furlongs is her distance," said Tim Ice, who trains Affirmed Truth.

The chief threat is Southern California invader Kays and Jays.

* The city of Grand Prairie will celebrate its 100th anniversary throughout the card. There will also be $1 admission, hot dogs, popcorn, and soft drinks at the track Saturday.