Updated on 09/15/2011 1:33PM

At last, soft spot for Sabathani


NEW ORLEANS - Sabathani has chased some fairly serious turf fillies in Chicago all summer, so her connections will be relieved to discover that she has found a field she should handle in Fair Grounds's Monday feature. An Illinois-bred full sister to the graded stakes winner Minor Wisdom, Sabathani deserves to be favored over six rivals in Monday's ninth race, a third-level grass allowance with a $75,000 claiming option.

The 10-race program gets a boost from the seventh race, a second-level route allowance on the main track that has attracted some promising horses.

Sabathani, who is owned by Carolyn and Joe Friedberg and trained by Richie Scherer, takes regular medication to control a heart murmur that cropped up a year ago. Her health has seemed fine and she has put together a solid if frustrating campaign this year. Sabathani has yet to win in five starts, but she has run well four times, and the horses that have beaten her - like Flinch, Dance Memories, and Julies Love Letter - are probably more talented than her opponents Monday.

Sabathani, who will be ridden by Eddie Martin, put in a couple of maintenance breezes at Hawthorne before shipping to Fair Grounds, and she figures to be sufficiently fit for Scherer, who wins at a good clip on turf.

The unknown factor in the race is Saffron Dancer, a European import making her first start in the United States for trainer Dick Lundy. Lundy is the private trainer for Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, but continues to train a handful of horses, such as Saffron Dancer, for outside clients. Saffron Dancer, a 3-year-old, campaigned in Ireland, where she failed to run competitively in listed stakes company. She runs with first Lasix on Monday.

In the seventh, Gracie's Dancer, second in the Risen Star here last season, returns from a 15-week layoff for trainer Andy Leggio. He faces the highly promising Saturday in May and Faiths Wish, a good-looking claim at Saratoga.

Gracie's Dancer, a speed horse, has been away from the races since winning an allowance sprint Aug. 17 at Louisiana Downs. His workout pattern shows a gap between Oct. 28 and Nov. 20, when he breezed five furlongs here.

Saturday in May, meanwhile, comes off a disappointing effort Oct. 7 at Arlington, a performance that might well be attributed to a yielding turf course. Saturday in May has two strong breezes since shipping to Fair Grounds.

Faiths Wish, claimed for $75,000 two starts ago, has raced only once since, but ran a strong race to be third in a highly rated Keeneland allowance race.