02/26/2004 12:00AM

Leslie's Love tough on grass


Leslie's Love, who has won five of her last eight starts, will return to turf Saturday night for the $30,000 Willowbrook Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.

A five-furlong grass race, the Willowbrook drew a full field of 12.

Leslie's Love is the one to beat. She has won 10 of 22 starts on turf, with her last win on the surface coming in an allowance at Fair Grounds in December. She went from dirt to turf for that race, which is the same move she makes Saturday night. Leslie's Love last raced at Delta Downs, winning the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Matron on Feb. 7.

Trainer Troy Young has given the mount to Gerard Melancon.

The chief threats are Raymond's Dream, Hacienda Del Mar, and Cauy.

Raymond's Dream has limited turf experience, but she brings sharp form to the table. In her last start, she was third in the $60,000 Pan Zareta at Fair Grounds, and before that she won the $38,000 Prime Rewards at Delta Downs. In her one turf start, Raymond's Dream finished second by a neck in last year's Willowbrook.

The winner of that race, Sound of Gold, will defend her title, but she must overcome post 12. John Jacinto will ride Sound of Gold, while Josh Romero will be aboard Raymond's Dream.