03/22/2003 1:00AM

Devine Wind just blowing through town


NEW ORLEANS - Devine Wind has left California, his home throughout his racing career, and will spend this summer at Delaware Park with trainer Scott Hansen. But that doesn't mean he can't do some racing along the way. Devine Wind was entered in Monday's featured ninth race at Fair Grounds, a third-level turf sprint allowance with a $75,000 claiming option.

It's the claiming option that lets Devine Wind and two of his primary rivals - G.W.'s Deputy and Rahy's Secret - into the race. Devine Wind long since ran through his allowance conditions, and spent last year alternating between high-end allowance and low-end stakes races. Now 7, Devine Wind has been off form in two starts this year, and owner Richard Englander apparently hopes to rekindle his horse with a change of scenery.

"I've literally had the horse about four days," Hansen said. "We want to get a race in him and then give him four or five weeks after we ship."

Hansen said he has done little more than take care of Devine Wind and enter him.

"I haven't done anything special. I just thought I would shorten him up a little bit to try and wake him up a little," said Hansen, adding the gelding's previous trainer, Julio Canani, deserves the credit should the horse win.

Devine Wind may or may not appreciate the change in distance, but he surely should like the change in company. Just two starts ago, Devine Wind squared off against Seinne and Sligo Bay, two of the better grass stakes horses in California.

His opponents Monday aren't nearly that caliber, but the field is solid. G.W.'s Deputy earned a start in a stakes race Feb. 23, and though he finished fifth in the Taylor's Special Handicap, his effort was creditable. Before that race, G.W.'s Deputy had won two starts in a row, including a pair of turf sprints, but his opponents Monday are tougher than the horses he beat on turf.

They include Rahy's Secret, who finished a close fifth behind the crack turf sprinter Testify Feb. 15 in a stakes race at Sam Houston. Two starts ago, Rahy's Secret won at this class level and distance at Fair Grounds. The horse he beat, Noon Affair, returns here having finished first at this class level in his last start. But Noon Affair was disqualified to second for interference, and now runs into a field superior to the one he recently beat.