06/08/2005 12:00AM

Favorite no lock in turf test


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The recent trend of generous prices here - Saturday's card was filled with longshot winners - could continue in Friday's entry-level allowance feature. An evenly matched group of 12 fillies and mares run 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

, third in the Fantasia Stakes in her last start, makes her grass debut Friday and may be a slight favorite.

, a maiden winner over the turf last summer, has valuable experience over the surface and will be making her first start of the year. She is trained by John Gelner and will be ridden by Don Simington.

Trainer Lori Hendrickson will send Only Imagine back on turf after a convincing maiden score on the main track in her most recent start. Only Imagine finished second against maiden special weight company late last year on the turf at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds.

Big fields and prices

While sheer numbers through the entry box does not ensure a competitive and attractive racing product, it certainly does not hurt, and that fact has become evident here in recent weeks. The suspension of operations at Evangeline Downs last month in order to retool its racing surface has left many in the southern part of the state little choice but to ship north to run here.

The increase in the number of betting interests recently has been a boon to longshot players. Last Saturday, normally the most formful day of the week, produced the most big-priced winners in recent memory.

The day began innocently enough, with 2-1 co-favorites Betty's Little Bit and Pachuto's Star completing the exacta in the first race. Second choice Goodbye Blues ($8.20) captured the second race to produce a $34.60 daily double before the parade of longshots began. Zulu Lulu ($43.40), Zone Blue ($104.40), and A'leuring Star ($44) accounted for the next three races before 8-5 favorite Uncle Toodie won the sixth race.

Pad the Wallet ($11.60) picked up her first stakes win in the seventh, when she bested five rivals in the Old South Handicap on turf. Pad the Wallet was the longest shot in the short field, in which the favorite, Due to Win Again, went off as the 3-1 favorite.

Things appeared to return to normal in the eighth, won by Twice a Delite ($4.40), but then Driftwood Lodge ($18.60), Arthel ($36) and Future Justice ($39) completed the 11-race card. The average winning price in the program was almost $30.