03/18/2011 2:22PM

Fair Grounds: Little Polka Dot cuts back in distance for turf sprint feature


A couple of 5-year-old mares trying something a little different are part of an intriguing makeup of the ninth-race feature Sunday at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, where an 11-race card includes three allowance races.

Little Polka Dot, trained by Tom Amoss, will be turning back from distance events to try 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf in the feature, while Five Star Fun, trained by Al Stall Jr., will rise in class after winning back-to-back races as an odds-on favorite in conditioned-claiming company.

The mares are among 12, including two also-eligibles, entered for a first-level allowance condition and a $51,000 purse.

Little Polka Dot, owned by Maggi Moss, has run in nine straight two-turn races. Jesse Campbell has the mount on the lukewarm morning-line favorite.

“We know she likes the grass, and we like the idea of shortening her up,” said Amoss.

Five Star Fun, with Shane Sellers to ride, won an off-the-turf race on Feb. 3 before wheeling back two weeks later to win for a $30,000 claiming tag in a grass sprint. She comes well drawn in the far outside post, assuming neither also-eligible makes the race, and should be able to flaunt her speed from that position once again.

Other contenders include Scintillation, with Miguel Mena riding for Ronny Werner, and Merom, with leading jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard for Greg Foley.

In the other allowance races, both for Louisiana-breds, Onda Fast Track and Tina Lena Too figure to vie for favoritism in race 5, a $43,000, first-level dirt sprint for 3-year-old fillies, while Moss and Amoss have a solid contender in Ide Miss Dixie in race 8, a second-level optional $20,000 claimer that drew a full field of older horses going a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

Ide Miss Dixie was claimed for $25,000 from his last race, when he was an easy winner as part of a 1-5 entry. A 5-year-old gelding, Ide Miss Dixie comes aggressively spotted in his return after six weeks when fitted with a $20,000 tag, as per the claiming option written into the race conditions.

After Sunday, Fair Grounds races Monday, to be followed by three dark days. Next Saturday, March 26, is Louisiana Derby Day, the biggest day of the year at Fair Grounds. The four-month meet ends the next day.