10/10/2006 12:00AM

Carolina Sky sets sights on Grade 3 Cardinal


Carolina Sky, who dominated the female turf division this meet at Louisiana Downs, could soon see graded stakes action in Kentucky. A winner of her last five starts, she rose from first-level allowance winner to two-time stakes winner in four starts at the meet, with her latest score coming in the $100,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup here Sept. 30.

"So far, she's stepped up every trip," said Morris Nicks, who trains Carolina Sky for David Hutcherson and Dan and Tim Bockmon.

Carolina Sky is one of 10 horses Nicks plans to bring to Churchill Downs following the close of the Louisiana Downs meet Oct. 21. He said her next start could come in the Grade 3, $150,000 Cardinal Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill on Nov. 5.

"She's possible for the Cardinal, and then there are several spots at Fair Grounds," he said.

Carolina Sky, a 4-year-old by Sky Classic, has won 5 of 6 career starts. She was purchased privately following a maiden win on dirt at Laurel in January. Carolina Sky started next in June, at Louisiana Downs.

The first-level allowance race was her first start on turf, and she won by eight lengths. Carolina Sky proceeded to win another turf allowance before taking the $50,000 Old South on the grass in August, and the River Cities. For her 2 1/2-length win in the River Cities, the richest turf race of the meet for fillies and mares, she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

Nicks said Northern Scene, winner of the $50,000 Barksdale at Louisiana Downs in May, will also be part of the string he is bringing to Kentucky. The horse's next start is scheduled for Saturday night, when he will defend his title in the $100,000 Texas Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park. Lonnie Meche has the mount, said Nicks.

Costa Rising to Churchill

Costa Rising, the Louisiana-bred who won six straight races before finishing fourth in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby, will move back to turf for his next start, said his owner, Charles Castille Jr.

Costa Rising is being pointed for the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill on Nov. 11.

Castille said Costa Rising would ship to Kentucky this weekend, and while at Churchill will be trained by David Fortner. He will return to the care of trainer Joe Boxie for the Fair Grounds meet, said Castille.

All turf card on tap closing day

Louisiana Downs plans to run nothing but turf races on its closing day card, Oct. 21. The program will be led by the $50,000 Lady Luck for 2-year-old fillies. The card keeps with the track's desire to create big-event type days. This meet, programs of note have included the Super Derby Day, when five stakes worth $1 million were run, and Louisiana Downs Champions Day.

Brother Bean goes for three in row

Brother Bean will attempt to remain unbeaten in three starts on Thursday, when he faces a competitive group of Louisiana-breds at seven furlongs in the featured eighth race. Among his rivals in the second-level allowance are Willtosucceed, who has been stakes-placed, and Cut Off Time, who moves back to one turn for leading trainer Cole Norman.

Brother Bean has won both of his starts in wire-to-wire fashion and is a threat to control the pace once again. He defeated statebreds in his last start, when he won a six-furlong allowance in 1:10.80. Victor Arceneaux trains Brother Bean, who is a full brother to Mean Butterbean, a winner of three straight allowances last year at Evangeline Downs.

Steve Bourque is the regular rider of Brother Bean, and again has the mount for Brittlyn Stable.

Post change at Evangeline

Evangeline Downs, which is conducting a meet for Quarter Horses, will add one race a night to its programs beginning Thursday. With the 11-race cards, first post has been moved to 6:20 p.m. Central.

Evangeline has also added the $75,000 Louisiana Derby for statebreds at 350 yards to its stakes schedule. The race will be run on closing night of the Quarter Horse meet, Nov. 25. Trials are Nov. 9.

* Mike Raidt, who was hired as track superintendent for Louisiana Downs in May, is no longer with the track.

* There is no live racing on Sunday at Louisiana Downs.