03/21/2013 12:53PM

Fair Grounds: Beverly Belle out for repeat in Red Camelia

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Lynn Roberts
Beverly Belle, with Miguel Mena riding, wins the 2012 Red Camelia.

NEW ORLEANS – Trainer Bret Calhoun jokingly called Beverly Belle “a rainmaker,” because several possible races for her at this Fair Grounds meet didn’t fill or were rained off the turf.

If the weather stays dry, Beverly Belle will be running on the turf course Saturday with an opportunity to score a repeat victory in the Red Camelia. Eight older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares are scheduled to run about 1 1/16 miles in the $60,000 feature on an 11-race card.

“I’ve tried to run her several times,” Calhoun said, but Beverly Belle hasn’t started this year as an 8-year-old. She won an optional-claiming turf race Nov. 24 on the meet’s opening weekend and finished a nonthreatening fifth on dirt in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies two weeks later in her last start.

Calhoun said he doesn’t think Beverly Belle, who has scored all three of her turf wins on the Fair Grounds course, will come up short on conditioning.

“She runs good fresh,” Calhoun said. “Obviously, we would have liked to run her more, but there’s been limited grass racing this winter.”

There appears to be enough early speed in the field, with Ladyzarbridge and Little Polka Dot possible pace-pushers, to enhance the chances of late-running Beverly Belle.

“That’s a key with her,” Calhoun said. “This course plays into her closing style. She just needs enough pace in front of her.”

Champions Day Ladies winner Ladyzarbridge and Little Polka Dot, who finished second in the Red Camelia last year, engaged in a speed duel on dirt in the Premier Night Distaff on Feb. 2 at Delta Downs. They both wilted late, finishing out of the money.

In the Champions Day Ladies, Ladyzarbridge got away with slow fractions and led all the way.

She scored a front-running, 3 1/4-length victory over Beverly Belle in the Honeymoon on the Louisiana Downs turf course, which is firmer than the Fair Grounds course. Trainer Eddie Johnston said that because Ladyzarbridge races in bar shoes on her front feet, a firm course is more suitable for her. She has won on the Fair Grounds turf, in a romp as a 3-year-old in the Sarah Lane’s Oates in 2010, before she needed bar shoes.

“She’s doing good, and she’s running against Louisiana-breds” Johnston said. “If it was on the dirt, I believe she’d be 4-5 in there.”

Divine Loretta, trained by James “Sweet” Hodges, finished third in the Red Camelia last year. She’ll be making her first start as a 5-year-old. She raced twice on turf at this meet, winning an open first-level allowance race on opening day and finishing second in an open second-level optional-claiming race Dec. 22.

“She likes this grass course,” Hodges said. “She ought to run good. She’s been training good.”

Insincerely Yours, trained by Alice Cohn, is on a three-race winning streak, each victory coming in a race switched from turf to dirt. That filly won a two-turn, first-level allowance race in open company in her last start.