05/03/2005 11:00PM

Dirt form dominates turf field


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Friday's feature is a five-furlong turf affair for either horses who have not won an allowance or a stakes on the grass or have not won three races in their career. The field of 10 shoots for a $26,000 purse, and most of the entrants are horses sporting solid dirt form who will try to translate their recent success to the grass.

, the lone member of the field to have won on turf, comes off a powerful win over the Lone Star main track. Trained by Gerald Romero for Leland Cook, Legendary Lass graduated over the local turf last fall and returned ready after taking most of the spring off following some uninspired efforts at Fair Grounds in December and January. John Jacinto, aboard for the successful return, will ride.

Seven-time defending training champ Cole Norman sends Bermuda Isle out for her first try on the grass. A daughter of El Prado, Bermuda Isle should have little trouble with the surface switch. She has three career victories from only six starts. She won two of her three starts at the recently concluded Oaklawn meeting, and her high turn of early foot should serve her well. Guy Smith will be up for the first time.

, who just missed in a recent allowance test at Evangeline, also figures Friday off a promising turf debut at Fair Grounds in January when she staged a willing late rally. Trainer Andrew Ney has given Jerri Nichols the call.

Luis Quinonez will be aboard , who carried her speed wire to wire in a three-other-than allowance sprint at Oaklawn on April 15. Quinonez will seek to continue the momentum he generated on opening weekend, when he won Friday's John Franks Memorial Stakes with Screen Idol and Saturday's Alliance Stakes on Crowned King. The stakes double was Quinonez's second of the year. He won both the Azeri and the Razorback Breeders' Cup on the same March weekend at Oaklawn.

* Noticeably absent from opening weekend was two-time local riding champ Gerard Melancon, who was forced to take off his mounts after a bout with pneumonia.

"He went down last week in a spill at Evangeline," said agent Rick Mocklin. "He seemed to be all right and rode the rest of the card, but was later diagnosed with a bruised lung. They thought they had it treated, but it developed into a mild case of pneumonia. He's doing much better, but we are going to take another week off and be back better than ever on May 12."