08/05/2004 12:00AM

Happy Ticket riding high off last out


Even though Happy Ticket will be making her stakes debut Saturday in the $70,000 Elge Rasberry at Louisiana Downs, she is clearly the one to beat. Happy Ticket ran such a huge race last out that she might not need to improve upon or even duplicate it to win the seven-furlong race restricted to 3-year-old fillies bred in Louisiana.

That is not to say the competition is lacking. The seven-horse field includes two-time stakes winner Cabildo Bag, who once beat male rivals, and Shes Dixies Eskimo, the only horse to ever defeat seven-time winner Placid Star.

But there are several reasons to latch on to Happy Ticket. She has exhibited real talent in her two career starts, winning those races by a combined 22 lengths. And last out, Happy Ticket earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure when she ran six furlongs in 1:10.40, a rating that is at least 13 points higher than each of her rivals in the Elge Rasberry.

"She ran a powerful race," trainer Andrew Leggio Jr. said. "I think she'll run that race or better on Saturday. She can't come into it any better. She's doing really well."

Happy Ticket last raced July 2 and has had a nice amount of time to regroup from her win. She shows three strong works for the Elge Rasberry and will be ridden by leading rider Lonnie Meche.

In both of her starts, Happy Ticket has raced on or close to the pace, and she figures to be prominent again Saturday from post No. 2.

"She's capable of sitting right there with them or going to the lead," Leggio said. "We'll just play it by ear and see how the race unfolds."

A daughter of Anet, Happy Ticket races for her breeder, Stewart Madison.

Shes Dixies Eskimo will be getting back to her best trip, one turn, for the Elge Rasberry. In her last start she was second to Placid Star in a one-mile restricted stakes at Evangeline Downs.

Before that race, Shes Dixies Eskimo won the six-furlong Fantasia over Placid Star at Louisiana Downs on May 23. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount on Shes Dixies Eskimo for trainer Samuel Breaux.

Cabildo Bag will be making her first start since October. She won the $50,000 Rebel over open company at Louisiana Downs last August, then returned and beat male rivals in the $50,000 Lafayette for open company at Evangeline Downs.

In her most recent start, Cabildo Bag was second by a nose in the $50,000 Laurel Lane at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 11. Guy Smith will ride for trainer Glenn Delahoussaye.