05/27/2004 11:00PM

Blue Guru on road to win


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Blue Guru, already a visitor to five different tracks this year, continues her national tour here Sunday in the inaugural running of the Fleur de Lis Stakes. The mile and 70-yard headliner drew a field of six fillies and mares gunning for the $50,000 purse.

Trained by Shane Wilson for Cunningham Racing, Blue Guru has but one win to show for her travels this year. It came at Oaklawn Park early in the year in a stakes-caliber optional claiming field. Most recently, Blue Guru finished third in stakes at Delta Downs and Sunland Park.

Sunday's task appears to be a bit easier, and Blue Guru will be reunited with Jamie Theriot for the first time since the Oaklawn victory.

Southern Surprise, who hails from the red-hot Morris Nicks stable, is expected to vie with Blue Guru for the role of favorite. Owned by Carl Raabe, Southern Surprise accounted for one of the four wins from only nine starters Nicks had the first two weeks of the meeting, crushing four rivals in an optional claiming affair last week. Showing the way past every pole, she cruised to a four-length win in a sparkling time of 1:22.30 for the seven furlongs.

The win was her first of the year after failing to carry her speed around two turns at Oaklawn and over the Lone Star turf course.

Sunday's distance may be a bit far for her, but Southern Surprise, a 5-year-old daughter of Northern Prospect, did manage to wire an optional claiming group at Churchill Downs on the turf last fall going a mile. Other than Expect Roses, there is little other speed in the Fleur de Lis, and Southern Surprise may be in position to win right back. Leading rider Lonnie Meche will once again handle the riding chores.

Due to Win, still looking for her first win in the last two seasons, may have found a field she can handle. A 9-year-old mare, she has faced solid stakes types all year long at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn and has been involved in the trifecta in 3 of her 5 starts. Trainer Howard Scarberry, who owns Due to Win with his wife, Penny, has enlisted the riding services of the strong-finishing Louis Quinonez. If the expected pace duel between Expect Roses and Southern Surprise develops, Due to Win could pick up all the all the pieces.