03/11/2010 12:00AM

Four Bears ready to go dirt or turf

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NEW ORLEANS - The start of another week's racing at Fair Grounds, and what better to greet it than another round of rain? This New Orleans winter of wetness was expected to continue late this week, meaning Friday's featured ninth race, an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares, stands a good chance of being switched from turf to dirt.

:: RACE OF THE DAY:

Turf or dirt, no matter to the connections of Four Bears. They are just thankful to have a chance to run at all.

"She can probably run on both surfaces," said David Carroll, who trains Four Bears for Maynard Farm and JVH Inc. "At this stage, the 'a-other-than' on dirt has not been going, and we're just trying to get a race to go for her."

Twice-started, Four Bears finished second to the decent filly Sheer Beauty in her career debut, a sprint race Nov. 11 at Churchill. On Dec. 31 at Fair Grounds, Four Bears stretched out to two turns and won an off-the-turf maiden race by three lengths. The filly appeared to be coming around, but with no spot in which to run, Four Bears was forced into a holding pattern.

"She's been ready for a long, long time, believe me," Carroll said.

Four Bears is by Hennessy and out of a Gone West mare: That's a grass pedigree, and should Friday's ninth actually stay on turf, Four Bears might be just fine.

She's one of 10 horses in the field's main body, with four more horses backed up on the also-eligible list. That latter group includes Sea Gull, who would be among the turf favorites if she drew into Friday's race.

Four Bears appears to be only one of many possible winners and is an early-season 3-year-old facing elders, but she figures to offer fair value Friday, with Shameless the likely favorite.

Shameless came to Fair Grounds a seven-time loser, but she had only raced on dirt and Polytrack before arriving in New Orleans. In her turf debut, on Jan. 18, Shameless won her maiden by a half-length, and in her next start, on Feb. 7, she came within a nose of winning first-level grass allowance race. Shameless has a second and a third from three dirt starts and also would figure to stay in Friday's race even with a rain-off onto the main track.