01/14/2005 12:00AM

Lac Laronge shows off versatility

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NEW ORLEANS - After beating a field of open optional claimers on the turf at 5 1/2 furlongs Jan. 6, Lac Laronge wheels right back Sunday against Louisiana-breds at six furlongs on the Fair Grounds main track in a $36,500 allowance race.

"He's very versatile," trainer Troy Young said. He can run on turf or dirt."

A 5-year-old gelding, Lac Laronge was an accomplished sprinter early in his career and was moving along nicely as a 3-year-old when he ran into some problems late in the season. After a poor performance in the 2003 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, Young decided he had to turn Lac Laronge out for several months. Lac Laronge returned to the races last July, and in his third start back he broke through, coming back after being headed in the stretch to win a $30,000 claimer on the turf. He followed that with second-place finishes in two Louisiana-bred dirt stakes, the Cajun and last year's Champion Day Sprint, before winning in open company Jan. 6.

"I told everybody he was the best bet of the day," said Young of that performance.

was 6-1 that day, but he's likely to be the favorite Sunday while facing only five rivals in restricted company. The field has several accomplished runners, including three who last competed on Champions Day.

also ran in the Dec. 11 Champions Day Sprint, a race he won in 2002 and 2003, but finished eighth this time around. He has turned in a pair of bullet works since for trainer Edward Johnston, and leading jockey Robby Albarado stays with him.

ran in the feature race on Champions Day, the Classic, finishing fourth to wire-to-wire victor Witt Ante. That race was the the first time in seven Fair grounds starts Meteor Impact has finished off the board. If the pace is hot he has a shot.

Walk This Way ran in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf in his last start, finishing eighth to Mr. Sulu. That race is an outright toss for Walk This Way since he is better on dirt than grass. Walk This Way has three wins and a second in six starts at Fair Grounds.

White Star is a speed horse who has hooked up with some of the top Louisiana-breds on the circuit. King Decor will be making his first start since November and has not finished better than fifth in his last five starts.