09/20/2005 11:00PM

Choices abound in sprint


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Friday's optional claiming feature at Louisiana Downs is loaded with options for bettors. There are several entrants sporting near-misses in their last starts, as well as some maiden winners and veteran claiming performers. As a result, the public will likely have a difficult time determining a favorite in the six-furlong race.

That honor could fall to , trained by Danny Whited. Although unplaced on the grass in her most recent start, she just missed in an entry-level allowance in her last try on dirt. A Louisiana-bred daughter of Spiritbound, Angel Bayou sports some early speed, and despite inconsistencies in her form, she has the ability to put it all together with the return to the main track. Tracy Hebert will handle the riding chores.

, a runaway maiden winner three weeks ago as the odds-on favorite, puts her improving record on the line in her first try against winning company. Her graduation came at the expense of open company, and the return to the statebred ranks Friday should help her cause. Trainer Cyril Hicks will give Jerri Nichols a leg up.

Multiple winner Rouxbee will certainly garner her share of support off a fourth-place finish in a nonwinners-of-four allowance here last month. A Forty Won filly, she also finished fourth against stakes types in the Hallowed Dreams Stakes in July. She is trained by Al Stall Jr. and will be ridden by Jose Riquelme.

is another recent maiden winner, and she defeated Kool Sauce when they met on Aug. 21. While she has been idle for the past month, trainer Andrew Leggio has gotten a useful half-mile work into her between starts. Leggio has given the call to Carlos Gonzalez.

Although she has been a model of consistency for trainer Harry Hahn, Courtney's Doll has also been somewhat frustrating. Never worse than fourth in her eight-race career, and only once out of the money, she has just the one victory to go along with the near misses. A daughter of Slew the Surgeon, she is winless in four starts as the favorite, yet may vie for that status once again on Friday. Gerard Melancon has the return call.