07/17/2003 12:00AM

Big three ready for Delicada rematch


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Due to Win, Blue Guru, and McKinney, the top three finishers in last year's Delicada Stakes, all return for this season's Delicada on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares offers a $50,000 purse.

McKinney carries the best recent form into this year's Delicada, having won the Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park this spring. McKinney, trained by Steve Asmussen, has been running in Chicago, where she finished third in Arlington's Mariah's Storm Stakes in her last start. Lonnie Meche has the call on McKinney, a 5-year-old El Prado mare, who will carry high weight of 120 pounds.

Due to Win, who also won the Sangue Handicap on turf here last year en route to being voted the meeting's top older mare, has not been as sharp this year and is still looking for her first win. The best finish in 2003 by the 8-year-old Due to Win, who will be retired at the end of the season, was a second in allowance company going a mile at Lone Star. Due to Win will carry 114 pounds, and Jamie Theriot will be aboard for the first time.

Blue Guru picked up her first win of the year in her last start, shipping to Manor Downs in Texas to easily take the $25,000 Manor Distaff. Before that, she was stakes placed at Delta Downs and Sam Houston. Blue Guru, a well-traveled 5-year-old, will be visiting her sixth different track this year in the Delicada. Trainer Shane Wilson will give Guy Smith a leg up.

Coastalota is one newcomer who could make it tough on the regulars, as she has been a win machine for owner Hubert Southard and trainer Randy Mayfield the past couple of seasons. While she has been competing mostly against Texas-breds, she did run third in open company in the $275,000 NTRA State Challenge at Sam Houston last December. E.J. Perrodin, up for Coastalota's win in the restricted JEH Stakes at Lone Star in May, once again will be in the saddle.

Completing the field are Eartha, unplaced in the Honeymoon Stakes here on opening weekend, and Littleriverqueen, who will be moving back to the main track following a dull effort on the local turf.