01/31/2008 12:00AM

Excessive Heat might flash excessive speed


The female turf-sprint division is not the most glamorous of categories in the racing world, but trainer Larry Rivelli can only hope he duplicates his previous success in it.

Rivelli trained Nicole's Dream, now retired to life as a broodmare but a crack turf sprinter only a couple of years removed from stakes wins all over the eastern half of the country. This past August, Rivelli and his owner Richard Ravin bought a filly named Excessive Heat from her breeder-owner-trainer, Wesley Ward, and after three races for her new connections, Excessive Heat had given Rivelli reason to think back to Nicole's Dream.

"She's still got a little ways to go, though," Rivelli said.

Excessive Heat has won all three of her turf sprints, most recently beating males in an open allowance race on Jan. 12 at Gulfstream Park. Saturday at Fair Grounds, she will again take on the boys in the $60,000 Black Gold Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint.

Excessive Heat is one of only seven horses comprising a field that, going into the race at least, looks unspectacular. She drew the outside gate, but looks like the race's primary speed, and should be solidly favored under Robby Albarado.

But will she win?

No doubt, Excessive Heat is a fast horse: In her most recent start, she ran her opening quarter-mile in about 21.20 seconds. But do that on the Fair Grounds turf and you may wind up losing by 10 lengths. The Fair Grounds course often eats up speed-burners like Excessive Heat, who her trainer acknowledges prefers highway-like grass.

"She likes it real, real hard, but she's never run on anything else, so you don't really know yet," Rivelli said.

A couple of horses - maybe Noble Hero or General G - could show enough pace to keep Excessive Heat honest, and that might be all that Amazing Results needs in order to score. Fifth last out in the Grand Canyon Stakes at Churchill Downs, Amazing Results will be making his first start for trainer Richie Scherer after racing for Chris Block during four races last year. Block's family, Team Block, bred and owns Amazing Results, and Scherer has handled their turf horses at Fair Grounds in the past, most notably Mystery Giver, who won three straight editions of the Fair Grounds Handicap.

Amazing Results is by Grand Slam and out of the Blocks' good mare Ioya Two, and he has never raced around one turn or at a distance less than a mile. But he may well be better-suited to the local turf than Excessive Heat, provided the early pace is quick enough to set up his late run.

"I just hope he can get up going five and a half," Scherer said. "I've never run him, but he works well in the morning, and he seems like the kind of horse that can do it."