05/24/2008 12:00AM

Delacour entry tops Decoration Day Handicap


Maryland-based trainer Leigh Delacour has a potent one-two punch in the lineup for the first of two $75,000 turf stakes on Monday night's holiday card at Mountaineer Racetrack.

Fareena and Mary Louhana, who will race as a coupled entry, have both kept classy company in their most recent races and figure to be prominent in the one-mile Decoration Day Handicap for fillies and mares (race 3).

Fareena, whose only defeat in three career starts came against multiple stakes winner Bsharpsonata in last fall's Selima at Laurel Park, was scheduled to make her 4-year-old debut earlier this month in the $50,000 Hilltop at Pimlico. But she was scratched when the race was taken off the turf due to weather.

The 3-year-old Fareena dominated her first two races, both on turf, before setting the pace and fading slightly to third in the Selima. Bsharpsonata went on to win two Grade 2 stakes at Gulfstream Park this winter.

The 5-year-old Mary Louhana is only 2 for 23, but missed by only a head last time out to Lady Digby, a filly who returned to finish second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 3 Gallorette on the Preakness undercard. Mary Louhana also finished third to former juvenile filly champion Dreaming of Anna two starts ago in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs.

The toughest challengers to Delacour's entry appear to be Beautiful Venue, whose 3-for-5 record over the course includes a win in last summer's West Virginia President's Breeders' Cup, and Bavarian Belle, a wire-to-wire winner of the Summer Finale locally last September. Both are coming off layoffs of between seven and eight weeks.