06/23/2006 12:00AM

Eight who could use a spark


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Finding the winner in Sunday's six-furlong allowance feature at Louisiana Downs may come down to deciding who can recapture the most of his once-promising form. Four of the eight runners in the race, a first-level allowance for Louisiana-breds, are coming off a layoff of 60 days or more. The other four runners have more recent starts, but have not displayed the talent that got them their wins.

Leading trainer Cole Norman has entered one of each type: Cut Off Time, who was a distant second in an allowance June 9, and Storm Heat, who has not raced since February.

scored by 6 3/4 lengths in his debut in December during the Fair Grounds meeting at Louisiana Downs, kicking well clear after making an impressive move through the turn. He returned three weeks later and finished third to multiple stakes winner Nob Hill Deelite in the Louisiana Futurity. Following a layoff of six months, Cut Off Time returned in an allowance race here June 9 and finished second, beaten 9 1/4 lengths. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 59, well below the 72 Beyer he earned in his debut.

Cut Off Time will go off as the likely favorite Sunday, and some improvement should be expected. Carlos Gonzalez will ride.

has been idle since finishing seventh in an allowance Feb. 4, but has trained superbly for his return, including a five-furlong work in 59 seconds here June 16. He has 2 wins and 4 second-place finishes in his 15 starts and appears poised to make an impact off the shelf. Gerard Melancon will ride.

Trainer Pat Mouton will send out the uncoupled duo of . Cajun Hot Sauce returned from an 11-month layoff in his last start and finished third, a neck behind Cut Off Time, in the June 9 allowance. He will be ridden by E.J. Perrodin and could move forward with the benefit of a recent start.

Poppa Duke hit the board in two stakes last season as a 2-year-old. He has not raced since finishing fifth, beaten 17 1/2 lengths, in an allowance at Evangeline Downs on Feb. 9. Tracy Hebert will ride.

Iron Groom is the most seasoned of the group, having won 3 of his 13 starts. He will be making his first start since finishing second in a first-level allowance in January. Lonnie Meche will ride.