06/02/2004 11:00PM

Britt's Jules, 'Smalltown' rematched


BOSSIER CITY, La. - About the time Smarty Jones attempts to race into immortality by negotiating 1 1/2 miles, 3-year-olds at Louisiana Downs will be dealing with only half that distance in the $50,000 Airline Stakes. Seven were entered in the six-furlong sprint.

Smalltown Slew and Britt's Jules, first and second in the Inaugural Handicap at Evangeline Downs on April 3, meet again in the Airline. Smalltown Slew ran a remarkable race that evening while trying stakes company for the first time. Last away from the gate, Smalltown Slew moved up into a forward position through an opening quarter in 21.80 seconds before putting a head in front after a half in 44. A son of Evansville Slew, Smalltown Slew drew clear with a furlong remaining and held off Britt's Jules to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths.

In his most recent start, Smalltown Slew finished second to older rival I'm Majestic in an allowance race here May 15. I'm Majestic has since come back to run a fast-closing second in last Saturday's King's Court Stakes. A return to his own age group on Saturday makes Smalltown Slew the one to beat. He will carry 119 pounds and have Gerard Melancon in the irons.

Unlike Smalltown Slew, Britt's Jules has not raced since the Inaugural. Before his last start, Britt's Jules had won three stakes at Delta Downs over the winter. He has won 5 of his 11 starts, and is owned by Floyd Williams and trained by James Frierson. Guy Smith will ride Saturday.

South Africa, trained by six-time defending champ Cole Norman, will be making his stakes debut in the Airline. No worse than second in three starts this year at Oaklawn Park and Lone Star Park, South Africa will look to keep his exacta streak going Saturday. John Jacinto will be in the saddle.

Foxtrot Oscar will be returning to the main track after two third-place finishes on the turf. Trained by William Welsh, Foxtrot Oscar won the Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston at Sam Houston on March 6 and has failed to finish on the board only once in nine career starts. Jeffery Burningham will once again be in the saddle.

Others in the field include Floor Dancer, twice a winner at Oaklawn this spring; Goosey Moose, third to Foxtrot Oscar in the Texas Heritage; and Wagon Road, who is coming off an allowance win at Lone Star.