12/31/2008 12:00AM

Deecity comes off troubled-trip victory

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NEW ORLEANS - Both divisions of the Louisiana Futurity shape up as contests among a few legitimate contenders, with the others likely to get the smaller slices of a very rich pie. Contested at six furlongs, the seventh and ninth races, each run for a purse of $108,185, offer low-hanging fruit for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds.

In the seventh race, 11 colts and geldings representing eight betting interests were set to go forward, and the coupled Deecity and Takin' the Bullet look to be the strongest.

Deecity showed maturity and pluck in his first trip to the races. In a maiden special weight on Nov. 27 at Fair Grounds, he was badly bumped and still won going away.

"He got his whole hind end bumped out, and a lot of first-time starters would have packed it in and gone home, but he gathered himself and went off again," said Norman Casse, assistant trainer to his father, Mark Casse. "Brett Brinkman got the horse ready for us, and he showed a lot of courage in his first start."

The other half of the entry, Takin' the Bullet, enters the race off a victory in an allowance at Delta on Nov. 14. In that race he went five furlongs in the mud and won going away. It was his first race off the turf, and if it represents his abilities on the main track, he will be formidable.

In the fillies division, the ninth race, Morning Memory comes off a brilliant debut. She raced in a seven-furlong maiden special weight on Sept. 18 at Louisiana Downs and won going away by eight lengths.

Her connections have high hopes for her, and gave her time off after the victory to preserve her for loftier goals in the spring.

"We wanted to give her a little time off because we think she'll be a great 3-year-old filly," said trainer Mike Burgess. "After her first race, this one was my target, but I think there will be a time when she will face open company."

There are several other contenders here, including Hazel Grove, who finished fourth in the Louisiana Lassie on Champions Day and races back here 18 days later.

Entering off a victory in an allowance on opening weekend at Fair Grounds is Wanna Cuddle, who went from 10th to first in the 5 1/2-furlong allowance over a muddy main track.