12/21/2011 3:29PM

Fair Grounds: She's Picky intriguing on dirt

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With three grass races included on the Friday program at Fair Grounds, an off-the-turf afternoon would complicate matters for handicappers while depressing handle and disappointing track officials. But it also would probably improve the quality of the featured sixth race.

Race 6, restricted to fillies and mares and written for second-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles, drew a total of nine entrants, but three are entered main-track-only, and that’s where the race’s strength appears to rest. A rain-off seems entirely possible, with rain at least mentioned in the local forecast throughout the week, and there is recent historic precedent here for a switch to dirt: The first time this race came up in the condition book, on Nov. 27, it was moved to dirt because of wet conditions.

In fact, the one-two finishers from that Nov. 27 contest, Canadian Mistress and Beloveda, are among the main-track-only horses Friday. Canadian Mistress won last out under allowance conditions and qualifies for this spot only because she’s entered back under the claiming option. Beloveda, from the Tom Amoss barn, was the 1-2 favorite when the pair met, but Canadian Mistress got to the front, set a strong pace, and held off Beloveda to score by a half-length.

But the most interesting of the “MTOs” might be She’s Picky, who ran one of the fastest one mile, 70-yard races of the 2010–2011 Fair Grounds meeting when she won her maiden on Feb. 14. She’s Picky, a 3-year-old Maria’s Mon filly trained by Paul McGee, didn’t race after that five-length victory, however, until Oct. 27, when she scored a narrow first-level allowance win over another Friday entrant, Broken Trust Fund, in a Churchill dirt route. She’s Picky was tried on turf a month later, failing to show the needed stretch acceleration while finishing fourth, and would be returning to dirt for her third race after the long layoff with two solid-looking Fair Grounds works for McGee.

McGee also entered the useful mare Shameless in the main body of the race, but Poof Too, Broken Trust Fund, and Alluring Squall look like the top contenders on grass. Poof Too finished a closing third behind Grade 2 winner Daisy Devine in the Nov. 26 Pago Hop, while Broken Trust Fund came back after her narrow defeat to She’s Picky to defeat first-level allowance foes on the Fair Grounds lawn. Alluring Squall, who can run on turf or dirt, has mixed tough trips and disappointing performances during a six-race 2011 campaign. Highly regarded and with a good pedigree, Alluring Squall has been favored in all her starts this year, but has won only two of them.

◗ Apprentice rider C.J. McMahon starts a seven-day suspension Friday after being disqualified from first to second in the seventh race last Friday after his mount drifted out in the stretch. Corey Lanerie began a seven-day suspension Wednesday for being disqualified from third to fifth in the same race for a separate incident.