01/14/2011 3:34PM

High-end allowance a puzzle at Fair Grounds


The featured sixth race Sunday at Fair Grounds hardly could be more of a hodgepodge, with all sorts of horses showing form from all over the place.

Ten were entered in this high-end allowance also open to $50,000 claimers and carded for about 7 1/2 furlongs on turf. Sunday’s sixth is one of three open allowance races on a fairly appealing card. Race 8 is an entry-level sprint allowance for 3-year-old fillies, while the ninth is a second-level turf allowance with a $40,000 claiming option.

Who knows who will be favored in the sixth if the race remains on turf. Third Dawn, making her second start for trainer Jeff Thornbury after spending most of her career with trainer John Sadler in Southern California, exits three straight Grade 2 races, but the 5-year-old mare’s best form by far has come on synthetic surfaces. She hasn’t made a turf start since finishing ninth in the 2009 American Oaks and was not especially impressive in two dirt races last fall after being shipped to Kentucky.

New Zealand-bred Exquisite, another California expatriate, was last seen finishing sixth for trainer Patrick Gallagher in the July 3 Royal Heroine Mile. The 7-year-old now lives in the Fair Grounds barn of trainer Ronny Werner, but who knows where she is condition-wise after such a long break.

In the Slips started her career in England, moved to California, then wound up in Kentucky last fall. She was claimed for $40,000 out of a third-place finish Dec. 18 at Fair Grounds and was not entered for a claiming price Sunday by new owner-trainer Cody Autrey.

Louisiana-bred Skipping Stone ran well over the Fair Grounds course last season but might prefer a one-turn race. Somme tried several stakes at Woodbine after clearing the maiden ranks in May and makes her first start in an allowance race Sunday.

If race 6 baffles, a shorter field in race 8, the 3-year-old filly sprint, at least presents fewer options. That’s especially true if the Steve Asmussen-trained Wicked Deed runs back to her 6 1/4-length maiden win Dec. 13 in her Fair Grounds debut.