09/09/2008 11:00PM

Classy Beck likes track, won't dislike class drop


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Between last week's rains from Hurricane Gustav and management's self-imposed rationing of the turf course this week in preparation for extensive use during next week's Super Derby Festival, grass racing at Louisiana Downs lately has been hard to come by.

Turf-racing aficionados should find comfort in Friday's feature race, however: a nonwinners of two-other-than optional claimer for fillies and mares. A total of eight entered the 7o1/2-furlong race, including Queen Rolex, who will go only if the race is moved to the main track.

Classy Beck, one of several in Friday's headliner to exit stakes company, should find herself in a more compatible situation from a class standpoint. Trained by Andy Leggio, Classy Beck had considerable success over this course this summer, winning an entry-level allowance in early June and then crossing the wire first in an open allowance in her next start. While she was subsequently disqualified from that second victory for interference early in that race, she again showed her liking for the local lawn.

Pretty Squall, a steady performer on both dirt and turf this summer, will attempt to turn the tables on Classy Beck, who has defeated her both times the two fillies have met.

Pretty Squall comes off a fifth-place finish in the Honeymoon, which was her first out-of-the-money finish since Nicks brought her back from a long layoff in May. She won a nonwinners-other-than allowance in June, a race that was taken off the turf course because of the weather. A similar situation could arise on Friday with Hurricane Ike's presence in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jenz Benz, a stakes regular in her home state of Texas earlier this season, returns to action for trainer Michelle Lovell following a freshening. She will be making her local debut on the John Franks turf course, but she is a three-time winner on grass.

The controlling pace of Friday's race appears to be High's Pride. She is coming off a gutsy front-running score in a nonwinners-of-three optional claimer over the Evangeline Downs main track in August. Form from that south Louisiana oval translates well at Louisiana Downs in recent weeks, and while High's Pride has limited turf experience, she is a threat if left alone up front.