03/15/2003 1:00AM

Fair Grounds: Distinctive Code upsets


NEW ORLEANS - How quickly they forget.

Just two months ago, Distinctive Code won a high-end allowance at Fair Grounds by almost two lengths, but after finishing third Feb. 8 in the Pan Zareta Handicap, Distinctive Code started Saturday in the $100,000 Victoria Lass Handicap at 13-1.

That was way too high.

Distinctive Code pressed the fast pace of the longshot Cinnful Bride, took control of the race in midstretch, and held on easily for a 1 1/4-length win over Miss Lodi, the heavy favorite.

Fuse It, the Pan Zareta winner, was third, followed by Cinnful Bride, Charmed Gift, Princess Jen, Stonington and Lake Lady. Distinctive Code paid $28.40 to win, running six furlongs in a quick 1:10.14.

Larry Robideaux, who trains Distinctive Code for Billy Courtney, said improper shoeing might have troubled Distinctive Code in the Pan Zareta.

"She just wasn't herself in the Pan Zareta," Robideaux said. "In the Pan Zareta, I got a little smart and switched her shoes. This morning, the blacksmith put plain old shoes on her."