03/04/2009 12:00AM

Hisse stands out on class

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NEW ORLEANS - The Fair Grounds card has come up unusually strong for a Friday, with three allowance or optional claiming events in races 7, 8, and 9.

The seventh race, a fourth-level optional $30,000 claimer for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, is carded for 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, and has drawn a field of 10 aiming for the $50,000 purse.

The class of the field is Hisse, Steve Asmussen's 4-year-old filly. She has earned nearly $250,000 in her 15 races, finishing in the money 12 times.

Hisse has only raced once over the turf, winning the Sarah Lane's Oates here by four lengths.

Several others look capable, including Sarah Almighty, who put it all together in her last race, when she came from off the pace to win. She has done her best running at this distance on the turf, and her trainer, Keith Bourgeois, said he believes the pace scenario could work out in her favor.

"It looks like a lot of speed, and I think she'll like that," Bourgeois said. "If the speed goes, she should be coming down the lane at the end."

The eighth race is a six-furlong, first-level allowance over the main track, and has drawn a field of six, including Blackberry Road. That colt was being included in Kentucky Derby conversations at this time last year, but has yet to fulfill his early promise.

Blackberry Road put himself into the limelight by finishing second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Cup as a 2-year- old. He began his 3-year-old season here, finishing second in the Grade 3 Lecomte, but then finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby.

He has been racing for Dallas Stewart since November, and has been in the money in all four of his races, but unable to find the winner's circle. Blackberry Road finished second in his most recent race, a first-level allowance going a mile and 40 yards over the main track on Feb. 5.

The ninth race, a first-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies, has drawn several promising runners, including Pari, who has been off since winning her maiden at Churchill Downs on Nov. 13.

The vacation is a testament to her trainer's faith in Pari's talent.

"She had about a month off and it looks like she might turn into a nice filly," said trainer Thomas Proctor. "That's what good horse trainers do, give them some time off between 2 and 3."