12/23/2004 12:00AM

Last shot at juvenile stakes win

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NEW ORLEANS - The two divisions of the Louisiana Futurity, the feature races on Sunday's card at Fair Grounds, offer one last shot for 2-year-old Louisiana-bred colts and fillies to win a stakes race before they all turn into 3-year-olds Jan. 1.

The $40,000 Louisiana Futurity for 2-year-old colts at six furlongs attracted three starters from the Dec. 11 $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. finished fourth that day, a half-length ahead of fifth-place finisher Smilin Fine, who was part of a 4-1 entry and second choice to odds-on favorite Crimson Stag. Badtotheboneandrew finished eighth in the Juvenile.

had all kinds of trouble under Carlos Marquez Jr. in the Juvenile, veering in after being jostled at the break, then running up into contention before being stopped again. Certainly it was enough of a bad trip to excuse a 2-year-old's performance.

"It was terrible," said trainer Troy Young. "He broke in just a tad, and the horse outside of him just shoved my horse sideways. I guess the jockey panicked. Then I saw him run right up into the middle of it, and he did the same thing again. Once I saw that happen again I knew it was over. He had been with another jockey in the mornings and I don't think Marquez was comfortable with him."

Young expects a better performance by Smilin Fine in the Futurity, with a change to leading jockey Robby Albarado riding.

"We've got a good shot to win," said Young. "I have a lot of faith in Robby."

The $40,000 Louisiana Futurity for 2-year-old fillies, also at six furlongs, attracted only two starters from the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, The Beter Man Can and Sweet Macaroni, and both were major factors in the betting that day. The Beter Man Can was the 4-5 favorite in the Lassie off a pair of victories, including the $50,000 Laurel Lane at Louisiana Downs. The Beter Man Can ran poorly in the Lassie, finishing fifth. The winner, Equestrian Girl, and the runner-up, Indigo Girl, both finished behind The Beter Man Can in the Laurel Lane.

"After her first two performances she threw in a bummer," said trainer Patrick Mouton. "She picked a bad day to do it, but fillies sometimes do that. She came back fine, she's training well, so we're going to throw that race out and hope she runs like we know she can Sunday."

Sweet Macaroni, who ran third in the Lassie as the third choice, ran on gamely and should improve off the effort.