12/21/2005 1:00AM

'Humboldt' looks tough on cutback


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The featured $41,000 allowance race at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs on Friday is going to make someone a nice early Christmas present. The big question is, who?

An evenly matched field of 11 fillies and mares will line up in the 6 1/2-furlong race, which is for nonwinners of two races.

could reprise her role of favorite from her last race, despite not having started since July. Humboldt Belle finished third after forcing the early pace going a mile in that last race, which came at Churchill Downs. She was much more effective at sprint distances before that, finishing second at first asking and then winning her maiden with ease at six furlongs in May.

Trainer Tom Amoss has worked Humboldt Belle steadily, including a bullet six furlongs in 1:14.20 on Dec. 7. James Graham will ride.

Diamond Band will be making her third start after taking off most of the summer. Trained by Ronny Werner, Diamond Band, a 3-year-old, also last ran at Churchill Downs, finishing fourth with a mild rally on Nov. 26. She appears to be in position to take advantage of a quick pace on Friday, and will be ridden by Robby Albarado.

Another horse that figures to be running late is , will be making her third start after taking most of the summer off. Jose Riquelme will be in the saddle.

comes into the race off a solid second-place performance in similar company here three weeks ago. Trainer Jerry Hardin has added blinkers to Maggio's equipment since her last start, and was rewarded with a nice three-furlong workout of 35 seconds on Dec. 4. The move was the fastest of 26 at the distance that day. Kirk LeBlanc takes the return call.

Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel sends out Snicker Slew, who will be looking for a repeat of her runaway maiden score at Remington in her last start. Favored in each of her four starts, Snicker Slew finally broke into ranks of winners after settling for second in three straight starts. Von Hemel again will give Don Pettinger a leg up.