01/26/2011 2:36PM

Eagle Putt has tightener under belt for Fair Grounds feature

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When Eagle Putt ran a creditable fourth in her recent return to the races, it was with 10 workouts behind her. Jeff Thornbury is among those who believe the one race might be worth more than all those works stacked together.

“Nothing is more beneficial than having a race,” said Thornbury, who trains Eagle Putt for Woodview Farm.

Eagle Putt will have Jimmy Graham back aboard Friday when she breaks from the inside post in a field of seven fillies and mares in the feature race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and Thornbury is hoping the 4-year-old filly “really comes up the ladder off that first race back. It looks like a fairly salty bunch she’s in against, but we’re going to cross our fingers.”

Eagle Putt came up with what Thornbury described as “an ankle issue” after winning a Turfway Park maiden race by 12 lengths last January. In her Dec. 30 return at Fair Grounds, the Pioneering filly was a pace factor from the start before finishing two lengths behind the winner.

The Friday feature, a $49,000, first-level allowance at six furlongs, looks like a very well-matched race, with Eagle Putt having been pegged the 7-2 second choice on the program behind Elusive Temper, the 5-2 favorite who will break from post 3 with Corey Lanerie up. No other starter is listed higher than 8-1.

Eagle Putt is one of two front-running types in a race that appears to lack much speed. Chiloe (post 4, Shaun Bridgmohan), entered off a Jan. 2 maiden victory, looks like she will challenge Eagle Putt for early supremacy.

“Hopefully the key will be that our filly really got a lot out of that last race,” said Thornbury, who has 15 horses in New Orleans and another sizable string back home at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. For much of his career, the 57-year-old trainer had been closely associated with Overbrook Farm until most of their stock was dispersed in recent years. Last Saturday he won the Leggio Memorial at Fair Grounds with Wild About Marie.

The eighth of 10 Friday races is the only allowance of the day. First post is the usual 12:40 p.m. Central.

The highlight of an 11-race Saturday card is the $60,000 Marie Krantz Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile turf race that drew eight fillies and mares, led by Avie’s Tale and Forest Uproar.