02/14/2009 12:00AM

Groovy Luck needs suitable footing

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Considering that he frequently runs for a claiming tag, Groovy Luck is ultra-consistent whenever he runs on grass or a fast main track.

In 13 starts on those two surfaces, the 6-year-old Groovy Luck has been first or second 11 times, including a sterling 5-for-7 mark sprinting on the Fair Grounds turf course.

Mud, however, has been Groovy Luck's Achilles' heel, which makes him a suspect favorite in Monday's featured ninth race, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer.

Although the 5 1/2-furlong sprint is scheduled to be run on grass, two days of thunderstorms in New Orleans could wash out grass racing and leave the main track something other than fast by Monday afternoon.

Since Groovy Luck is 0 for 4 over wet surfaces, including a 10th-place finish over a muddy track at Evangeline Downs last May, he could be vulnerable at a short price.

Main-track-only entrant Early Return is clearly the one to beat if he gets an opportunity to run. A 4-year-old trained by Steve Margolis, Early Return comes off a 2 1/2-length score over a sloppy track against first-level allowance competition.

If the race remains on grass, Groovy Luck, who is entered for the $40,000 claiming price, will be formidable returning to the same class level where he scored in mid-December. His two chief challengers in a field where just six are entered for turf are Cya Later Bert and Cool Hero.

Cya Later Bert, from the high-percentage barn of Tom Amoss, is often close, but rarely wins, as evidenced by his nine second- and third-place finishes, compared with just 2 wins, in 14 starts. A deep closer, he finished three-quarters of a length behind Groovy Luck when they met on Dec. 14.

Cool Hero, who has the speed to challenge Groovy Luck for the early lead, comes off the best turf sprint effort of his career, a race in which he nosed out Cya Later Bert for second. He, too, likes to run second far more often than he wins but is capable of handling turf or dirt.