07/20/2005 11:00PM

Kourtneysfirst shows versatility


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Kourtneysfirst, a sharp maiden winner at odds-on here July 14, takes her act to another level Saturday in the $50,000 Southern Belle Stakes. Restricted to 2-year-old fillies bred in Louisiana, the 5 1/2-furlong Southern Belle drew a field of six.

Kourtneysfirst has shown the ability to race from on or off the pace during her brief career. The latter style became evident in her first start, on May 26, when she was bet to even money but broke sluggishly and trailed early. Regular rider Gerard Melancon asked the daughter of Matty G for a little run through the turn, and Kourtneysfirst responded with an eye-opening move only to come up a bit short in a runner-up finish.

There were no such adventures at the break in Kourtneysfirst's maiden victory, as she was prominent throughout en route to a two-length victory. Trainer Bret Calhoun also added Lasix for her second out, and with the resulting Beyer Figure of 63 - at least 10 points better than the career best of anyone else in the field - Kourtneysfirst should rule as the favorite once again. Melancon will again handle the riding chores.

Trainer Troy Young ships up Sammie Sam from Evangeline Downs, where she cruised to an almost 10-length win at first asking on June 30. She went off at even money.

C.J. Woodley, leading rider at Evangeline, will make the journey from Opelousas to ride Sammie Sam.

Tortuga Flats also won her only start. Trained by Ralph Irwin, the Wild Zone filly made short work of Louisiana-bred maiden special weight foes on June 23. She appears to have drawn the best of the early speed, and rider Don Simington may want to take her to the lead from post 2.

Leading rider John Jacinto takes the mount back on Sixteen Grand, another filly who won first out. Trainer Larry Robideaux continues to get some steady works out of Sixteen Grand.