05/28/2007 11:00PM

Leggio has another nice filly


Trainer Andrew Leggio Jr. has come up with a fast filly or two over the years. In recent times, he has trained standouts Happy Ticket, a Grade 1 winner of $1.6 million who retired last year, and Sarah Lane's Oates, a 15-time stakes winner who earned $888,296.

Monday, he sent out Atlanta Highway to a 6 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Stonerside at Lone Star Park. It was the third straight victory for the filly, all at sprint distances. Atlanta Highway returned home to Louisiana Downs on Monday night, and had Leggio mulling his next move for the 3-year-old daughter of Chief Seattle.

"She ran a very good race," he said. "I'm going to give her about a six-week rest, and then I'm going to look around."

Leggio said Atlanta Highway will be considered for stakes around the Midwest. She was making her fifth career start in the seven-furlong Stonerside and her third start for Leggio.

"She came to me at the Fair Grounds," he said. "She had run a couple of times at the Meadowlands.

"I think that she will go two turns. I'm not positive about it, but that's running through my mind if there's an opportunity to try it. We'll see what comes available to us."

Leggio trains Atlanta Highway for her breeder, Dede McGehee.

Fast start for Howard

Trainer Tom Howard's stable has doubled in size since last season at Louisiana Downs, and he is off to a fast start this meet. He has won with 3 of 10 starters, finished second in three other races, and has a number of promising young horses coming up through the ranks.

"The last part of Oaklawn, we did good, so the first part of this meet we got a little momentum," said Howard, who has 15 horses in training. "Hopefully, it will hold up."

The 3-year-old filly Lew's Gray was a 2 3/4-length winner of a maiden special weight race at Louisiana Downs on May 12. Howard said a goal for her later in the meet is the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Oaks on July 21.

Howard is also excited about the unraced Jade Harbor, a 3-year-old colt by Jade Hunter.

"I'm looking for him [to debut] within 30 days," he said.

Among the 2-year-olds he has in training is Gamble on Rocket, a Louisiana-bred colt by Valid Expectations. He is out of the mare Seemslikeoldtimes, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Exchange.

"He's just now going through the gates," said Howard.

Howard's stable also includes Commander Buck, who won last year's Independence at Louisiana Downs. And then there is Heart Appeal, who earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 86 when second in an optional claimer here last Saturday.

"We may be looking to step him up a little bit," said Howard.

Other horses of note in the barn include the 3-year-old filly Dancing Dudete.

Miss Lily tries turf once again

Miss Lily, a six-time winner on dirt, will attempt to add a turf win to her resume in the featured ninth race Thursday. The first-level allowance for fillies and mares will be run at about five furlongs. Miss Lily, who is winless in two grass starts, comes into the race off a front-running win over $20,000 claiming foes at Louisiana Downs on May 5.

Her speed makes her appealing at the distance Thursday. Miss Lily also has an experience edge on her rivals in the win department, and goes to bat for a hot barn. Trainer Jorge Lara has gone 6 for 20 less than a month into the meet to lead the standings. Miss Lily will be ridden by Carlos Gonzalez.

The chief threats appear to be Classy Ide and Debs Jett.

* Smooth Bid will be considered for the $50,000 Barksdale at a mile on turf here June 23, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen. In his last start, he was a seven-length winner of an off-the-turf optional claimer at Lone Star on May 10. Smooth Bid is a stakes winner of $269,358.