06/23/2004 11:00PM

Leslie's Love back on turf

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Despite winning a dirt stakes in her last start, Leslie's Love will switch back to turf for Saturday's $50,000 Miller Lite Stakes at Lone Star Park.

The five-furlong turf race is for fillies and mares.

Leslie's Love deserves to be favored. She has won 20 of 52 career starts and is seeking her third straight win. She won the $50,000 Suthern Accent Stakes on dirt in her last start, on June 5, and before that won a turf allowance, her 11th win on grass from 24 lifetime starts on the surface.

"At five-eighths on the turf, she could run with anyone in the country," said Troy Young, who trains Leslie's Love for Donald Foret. "She would at least be in the top three against any mares out there, I promise you that."

Leslie's Love has excellent speed and used it in her last start, when she wired the field in the Suthern Accent. She will be making her third start off a layoff in the Miller Lite, a race she won in 2002. Leslie's Love did not start in the Suthern Accent last year.

Gerard Melancon, who has won six races aboard Leslie's Love in 10 tries, has the mount again on Saturday.

Fleeta Dif, who won the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes at 17-1 in May, will make a rare appearance on turf in the Miller Lite. The JEH was on dirt, and after that race she ran fourth on dirt in the $100,000 Valid Expectations.

Despite making only three career starts on turf, Fleeta Dif is multiple stakes-placed on that surface. She was third in the $30,000 Willowbrook at Sam Houston Race Park in February and was also third in the $30,000 Selma Stakes at Retama Park last October.

Rita Helton has the mount on Fleeta Dif for trainer Tom Warren, who owns the mare with his wife, Patricia Warren.

Another horse of interest in the Miller Lite is Big Score. She will be returning to the turf, the surface of her best recent races.

In her last two turf starts, Big Score was third by a neck in the $100,000 Mamzelle at Churchill Downs on April 29, and later was third in a turf allowance, also at Churchill. Big Score is trained by Steve Asmussen.