03/10/2009 11:00PM

Groovy Luck fresh for turf sprint


Horse owner Bobby Asaro of New Orleans had a somewhat rhetorical question about the featured fifth race Friday at Fair Grounds.

"How about Groovy Luck on Friday the 13th?" Asaro wrote via e-mail.

Asaro might be onto something - but only if his Groovy Luck can avoid a taxing early speed duel like the one that led to his first loss on the Fair Grounds course when he last raced on Jan. 12.

Groovy Luck was one of nine horses entered in Friday's race 5, a second-level turf-sprint allowance also open to $40,000 claimers. And the featured fifth is only one among several appealing events on a nine-race program.

Race 6, another turf sprint, drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies eligible for their first allowance condition, or entered under a $50,000 claiming option.

Race 8 is another entry-level allowance, this one for older horses over a route of ground on turf. Naturalyontherocks, second to the sharp House of Silver in his most recent appearance, rates an edge.

The card closes with a 3-year-old maiden sprint that has several decent prospects. The one with a race under his belt is Trip in Time, second in a very fast race on Feb. 7.

Groovy Luck, meanwhile, is one of the few horses in the stable of trainer Norman Miller, who has won with 3 of his 8 starters this meet. Groovy Luck has one of those victories, a win at this same class level and distance on Dec. 14, his third in three tries over the local turf. But 6-year-old Groovy Luck's streak ended a month later, when he dueled on a fast pace and faded to sixth in a $50,000 turf-sprint claimer.

Things have changed since then. Groovy Luck is fresh again, and shows an encouraging half-mile drill last Saturday at the Folsom training center across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Moreover, the Fair Grounds grass course is harder and more speed-favoring now than at any point this meet, and that should work in Groovy Luck's favor. Groovy Luck's problem is a horse named Cool Hero, who is drawn two stalls to his outside and almost always goes to the lead.

A killing pace could set the table for the likes of George's Cigar, whose last-start turf debut came at a two-turn trip probably farther than George's Cigar prefers to run. George's Cigar seems much more comfortable with the sort of stalking sprint trip he's likely to get Friday, and trainer Ralph Nicks's barn has been among the hottest on the grounds the last couple weeks.