09/27/2006 11:00PM

Carolina Sky can win fifth in row


Carolina Sky ran well enough on dirt, but when she moved to turf she stepped up her game considerably and on Saturday will be favored to win her fifth straight race in the $100,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

The race is the meet's richest turf offering for fillies and mares, and it will be run at about 1 1/16 miles. Others in the field include Due to Win Again, who is the two-time defending champ, More than Promised, and Rue des Reves.

But the one to catch and beat is Carolina Sky, who won her stakes debut last month in the $50,000 Old South. She will face her biggest test yet in the River Cities, where she will seek to remain unbeaten on turf, with all three of her grass wins coming this meet.

"The whole summer she's moved forward, really, and I'd like to see her move forward just a little further," said Morris Nicks, who trains Carolina Sky.

Carolina Sky was purchased privately after a January maiden win at a mile on dirt at Laurel. She shipped to Louisiana Downs and made her next start in June, in a first-level allowance on turf. Carolina Sky won by eight lengths, and came back and won another turf allowance July 13. From there, she wired the field in the Old South on Aug. 12.

"She moves good on dirt, but nothing like she does on turf," said Nicks, who cited pedigree as the main reason he first tried grass with the Carolina Sky, a 4-year-old by Sky Classic.

Lonnie Meche has the mount on the filly, whose late challengers will include More than Promised. A two-time stakes winner over this course, More than Promised returns here off a win in the $75,000 Ricks at Remington. It was her first victory of the year, after she earned checks in graded stakes in Kentucky.

"She hooked some very tough fillies at Churchill," said Scott Blasi, who trains More Than Promised.

"I think winning does her a world of good, and she likes the Louisiana Downs turf course, so I think this is a great spot for her."

Luis Quinonez has the mount.