Updated on 09/17/2011 1:49PM

Ifyouprefersilver to show her mettle


NEW ORLEANS - It has been on-again, off-again for , who has mixed brilliance with disappointment in a nine-start career. Except at Fair Grounds. Racing on the main track here, Ifyouprefersilver has gone 3 for 3, including a blowout win last year in the $150,000 Chou Croute Handicap, and on Sunday, she appears perfectly spotted in the $60,000 Truly Bound Handicap.

Fair Grounds route stakes for older fillies and mares aren't known for large fields, but the Truly Bound, at 1 1/16 miles, drew 11 entrants. The form on many of these horses, most of whom made their most recent start elsewhere, will leave handicappers grasping for solid ground. And that only cements Ifyouprefersilver's position as the race's most likely winner.

Owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Mike Stidham, Ifyouprefersilver won her maiden and an allowance race here two seasons ago, and crushed her opponents in the 2003 Chou Croute, drawing off to a 9 1/4-length win. But she has raced just three times since then, finishing unplaced in the March 29 Lady Hallie Handicap at Hawthorne and the June 14 Chicago Breeders' Cup at Arlington before returning from a long layoff in an allowance race here Dec. 6. At 5 1/2 furlongs on grass, that start was shorter than Ifyouyprefersilver's best distance, and her closing third to the crack sprinter Leslie's Love should have her set for a top effort Sunday.

"She obviously had been tailing off in the summer, and she needed a freshening," Stidham said. "She got it, and now she's loving life again. She trained well up to her turf race, and she's trained well since the turf race, but we're going to take it one race at a time."

Ifyouprefersilver is best stalking the pace at two turns, and such mares as Blue Guru, Spirited Maiden, and the stretchout sprinter Whiletheiron'shot should provide ample pace to set the race up for her.

Another closer that might catch bettors' eyes is Minister's Baby, who struggled last year to regain the form that earned her almost $300,000 in 2002. This is Minister's Baby's first start for the trainer Al Stall, who said he has done little more than "piddle around" with Minister's Baby, who has been in his barn a month.

* Sunday's eighth race, a six-furlong second-level allowance race, marks the return of Political Risk, who was on the Triple Crown trail last year before suffering an injury in April.