12/18/2002 12:00AM

Juvenile fillies vie for $250K


A few years ago, nobody would have believed that little Delta Downs in Vinton, La., would someday be putting up a $250,000 purse for 2-year-old fillies. But that will be reality Friday night, when the track, now reaping the benefit of slot machines, runs the Delta Princess.

The one-mile race, which is something of a prelude to the inaugural $500,000 Delta Jackpot on Saturday night, drew an interesting mix of eight fillies from around the Midwest. Included are the promising My Trusty Cat, third last time out in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs, and Tulupai, a three-time stakes winner from Remington Park.

The field also includes Miss Mary Apples, second in the Grade 2 Schuylerville earlier this year at Saratoga; Sea Bloom, winner of the $100,000 La Senorita at Retama Park; and stakes winners Souris and Miss Listo from the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen.

"The race came up pretty tough," said Wilson Brown, co-owner and trainer of Tulupai, who will be making her two-turn debut. "In her last three races, my filly's never been tested, but she's fixing to get tested down there."

Tulupai is the speed of the Delta Princess, and her turn of foot should be an asset on the six-furlong oval at Delta. She will be able to get position early under jockey Cliff Berry. She will then likely have to hold off a bid from My Trusty Cat.

My Trusty Cat has the benefit of seasoning at the distance, as well as a workout over the track. She also has tactical speed in her corner, and has handled herself well in quality company, as evidenced by her third-place finish to My Boston Gal in the Golden Rod.

One start prior to that race, My Trusty Cat finished second to My Boston Gal in an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs.

David Vance, who trains My Trusty Cat for Carl Pollard, has given the mount to Terry Thompson.

Corey Lanerie will ride Souris, who makes her first start around two turns. Most recently, Souris posted a late-running third at seven furlongs in the $275,000 Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies at Sam Houston Race Park. In her two previous starts, she finished third in a pair of one-turn mile stakes - the $100,000 Pocohontas at Churchill Downs and the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie.

Another to consider is Sea Bloom, whose biggest win came in the La Senorita, which was at a mile on turf. Calvin Borel has the mount for trainer Sam David Jr.

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