12/11/2012 4:39PM

Fair Grounds: Eden Prairie going on turf or dirt

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Susie Raisher
Truly Marie has had three stakes starts in Southern California.

It’s mid-December, and now is the time the Fair Grounds program for 3-year-olds of 2013 has to get off the ground. The Thursday card should help with that. It includes two maiden special weight races for 2-year-olds followed by a featured first-level turf allowance race for juvenile fillies.

The three-race sequence, spanning races 6-8, is the first real presentation of young talent stabled in New Orleans this season, and the races include several horses who ran during the November meet at Churchill Downs. That’s a good sign that Kentucky horsemen are getting settled in for the winter and should start playing a greater part in day-to-day racing – a welcome respite from the recent torrent of Louisiana-bred races at Fair Grounds.

There are eight fillies in the main body of the featured eighth, and two more horses entered for the main track only. A switch to dirt is possible: The turf course was wet over the weekend, there was rain Monday, and more was possible through Tuesday night.

Trainer Neil Pessin said Eden Prairie is running regardless of the surface. The filly already has shown ability on turf, winning a Keeneland turf-route maiden race over 11 foes on Oct. 7, and has worked well enough on the Fair Grounds main track that a try at dirt racing doesn’t seem foolhardy. Eden Prairie moved forward at Keeneland after turf-sprinting in her career debut at Arlington, and she finished decently winning by more than two lengths despite pulling hard on jockey Shaun Bridgmohan while racing behind horses in the early going.

“She was kind of a handful around the first turn,” Pessin said. “If there are two or three Thursday that want the lead, we’d lay right behind them. I think she’ll do that. Hopefully she’ll get better at relaxing as she goes along.”

Fair Grounds turf races – if there are any – will be conducted with the rail out at 25 feet Thursday, a configuration that helps front-runners. But there might be too many of them in the race 8. Among the potential pace is Truly Marie, who tried three Southern California stakes races after winning her maiden at Del Mar in August.

Race 7, for fillies at six furlongs on dirt, drew eight entrants, including the two-three finishers – Abundantly Clear and Glitteronthehiway – from a Nov. 25 Fair Grounds dash. Watercolors, Anahauc, and Melody Lady all debuted during the Churchill meet.

Race 6, a turf sprint, has 16 entrants, with 10 in the field’s main body. Especially interesting is a Danny Pish-trained first-timer named Kiptastic, who has posted strong workouts at Retama and Fair Grounds.

◗ Calvin Borel is within two winners of the 5,000 career-win milestone, and happens to have two mounts Thursday at Fair Grounds. Borel, who is just in for the day, will ride a pair of horses for trainer Tim Glyshaw. Belongs to B’sal is the 2-1 morning-line second choice in race 3, Boss Man Rocket the 7-2 morning-line favorite in race 6.