02/13/2007 1:00AM

Is Jibboom a good thing again?


The word was out when Jibboom made her career debut on Jan. 14 at Fair Grounds in a turf sprint race for maiden special weights. On paper, Jibboom looked like just one of several contenders, but on the tote board, she looked exceedingly live. Sent off at odds of about 8-5, Jibboom showed why, tracking a decent pace and charging to the front with an eye-catching rally to win by three-quarters of a length.

Trained by Bobby Frankel for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms, Jibboom enters Thursday's featured ninth race at Fair Grounds looking much like she did first out - like one of several horses who can win the race. If she handles Thursday's competition the way she did her maiden opponents, Jibboom may really be a filly to watch.

Besides facing obviously more difficult competition, Jibboom will be asked to settle and finish at 1 1/16 miles and two turns on the turf this time. As a daughter of the promising young sire Mizzen Mast and a mare by Gone West, Jibboom has the pedigree to tackle more distance. She also showed professional instincts in her first-out win, and has come back to work twice for Frankel's Fair Grounds assistant, Scott Hansen. And all that might not be enough.

There are nine others entered in Thursday's ninth, and several look like they can really run. Start with the rail-drawn horse, Whisper to Me, who if nothing else gets post-position relief this time. A sharp one-mile turf winner of her career debut on Oct. 8 at Woodbine, Whisper to Me, a Pin Oak Stable homebred, faced winners for the first time on Dec. 10. She lost by a neck in that start, showing an excellent turn of foot in the stretch, and probably was done in by a poor draw, breaking from post 11 and getting caught wide on both turns. This time, jockey James Graham can save all the ground from the fence, and if Whisper to Me finds a hole somewhere in the stretch, there may be no stopping her.

Moonee Ponds, another filly by Mizzen Mast, has yet to attempt a turf race, but showed she's a better horse racing around two turns, winning a one-mile maiden race Jan. 20 at Fair Grounds after losing in sprints in her first two starts. Moonee Ponds is trained by Tom Proctor, who has excellent statistics with horses trying grass racing for the first time - probably because he winds up with many horses bred for the grass. Moonee Ponds is one of them.