03/02/2011 2:50PM

Firmer turf a plus for Kissimmee Kyle at Fair Grounds


When a gelding named Kissimmee Kyle finished second in the Dixie’s Poker Ace in January over the Fair Grounds turf, “he was bobbling and fumbling a lot of the way around there,” according to trainer Al Stall Jr.

That was over a soft course. With the weather having gone drier in the New Orleans area in recent weeks, the turf course has firmed up. So when Kissimmee Kyle makes a rare drop into the allowance ranks Friday in the first and richest of four allowance races on a 10-race Fair Grounds program, “firm ground will be the most important thing, I think,” Stall said. “That should be the ace up his sleeve.”

Kissimmee Kyle, owned by the Red Oak Stable of John Brunetti, likely will be favored Friday when breaking from post 3 to face five other Louisiana-breds in the fourth race, a $54,000 allowance with wide-open conditions. Richard Eramia has the call on Kissimmee Kyle, whose last eight starts all have come in statebred stakes.

“There’s not another turf stakes at the meet, and when this spot came up, I thought it fit us perfectly,” Stall said. “We’re really looking forward to running ol’ Kyle in something like this. It seems like the circumstances should favor us.”

Wildrally, winner in a mild upset of the Jan. 8 Dixie’s Poker Ace by a length over Kissimmee Kyle, is drawn right alongside in post 4 as a stern rival. Leading jockey Rosie Napravnik has the call.

First post Friday is 12:40 p.m. Central, with the nominal feature set for 2:15. In those later allowances:

◗ Race 7 (3:50 post): Napravnik picks up the mount on Tina Lena Too, who earned a 74 Beyer Speed Figure in a 7 1/2-length romp in her Delta Downs debut last month. Seven other statebred fillies oppose her in this $43,000 main-track sprint.

◗ Race 9 (4:50): Harlie’s Dreams ends a run of four straight stakes appearances when dropping into this $51,000 route, which drew seven older fillies and mares. Kerwin Clark has the mount for trainer Pat Devereux Jr.

◗ Race 10 (5:19): An overflow field makes for a terrific Friday finale, with Cajun Dust, Isheajet, Pioneering Native, and Meteor Attack being the top contenders in a $43,000 turf mile.