12/10/2004 1:00AM

'Leopard' lands in tough spot


NEW ORLEANS - The well-bred 3-year-old turf filly Leopard Hunt and the hard-hitting 5-year-old mare Chilling Effect top a good field of 11 fillies and mares at Fair Grounds in

Sunday's feature, a two-other-than allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Leopard Hunt, by the top grass sire Diesis out of the Irish broodmare Alcando, has won 2 of her 5 grass starts. She showed promise racing in England as a 2-year-old, wining her maiden at first asking at the June Goodwood meet, then placing third in a $40,000 stakes race. She was overmatched in a Group 2 event in September, finishing eighth.

Leopard Hunt was sent to the United States to race and has been under the care of Michael Dickinson. She won her American debut, an entry-level allowance at Delaware Park, but was overmatched trying to take the next step up the allowance ladder at Keeneland on Oct. 17. Since then, she shows a pattern of steady, conditioning turf workouts at Dickinson's training facility. She's under the care of Ken McPeek at Fair Grounds.

"I've only had her for the last two weeks," McPeek explained, "but she looks quite nice. She's doing very well right now. Her mother, Alcando, won the Beverly Hills Handicap."

McPeek knows that Leopard Hunt has not found an easy spot for her Fair Grounds bow.

"There are a good bunch of fillies in that race," he said.

Chilling Effect has an impressive turf record of 6-2-3 in 19 starts. She has a late-running style that is well suited to the Fair Grounds turf course.

Sean's Baby is stakes placed, having finished third in the $50,000 Hatoof at Arlington Park.

Cinemagic has also displayed a powerful closing kick in winning 3 of her 6 starts on grass.

Singit has finished second four times and won once in seven grass starts.

Must Approve is coming off of a pair of turf victories at Louisiana Downs. She is likely to contest the pace with Dancing With Me, a 5-year-old mare with a 3-2-3 record in 23 grass starts.

Witch Approval, a 4-year-old filly, loves the Fair Grounds turf course, where she won her maiden last January and an off-the-turf allowance before finishing second, beaten only a head, March 11 at this condition. She has been off since that race, however, and probably needs a race before showing her best.