06/28/2001 11:00PM

Lettuce Loose back on familiar ground


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Lettuce Loose, favored in each of her starts before her most recent race, the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, should once again rule as the public's choice in Sunday's Fantasia Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

The six-furlong Fantasia, for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies, has drawn a solid field of 11 and carries a $40,000-added purse.

Lettuce Loose, owned by Brittlyn Stable, has won four of seven starts, including three stakes. All of her wins have come at the expense of fellow state-breds, including a powerful 7 1/2-length score in the Battler Star Stakes at Fair Grounds before her journey to Maryland. Trained by former Louisiana Downs regular Tom Amoss, she will be ridden by Gerard Melancon at 121 pounds.

Comet Cat and Julie's Red Dancer, each a stakes winner here last season, will renew the rivalry that had them face each other four times last year. Their battle could very well be for second money, however, as they finished fifth and sixth in the Raspberry Memorial in January, some 20 lengths behind Lettuce Loose. C. J. Woodley will ride Comet Cat, while Don Simington will be aboard Julie's Red Dancer. Each will be in receipt of nine pounds from the favorite.

Rail to Seattle, a 4 1/2-length allowance winner at Evangeline in her most recent trip to the post, has now won three of her last four starts. The lone blemish on her record during that stretch was a trip to Lone Star Park for her turf debut.

After battling for the early lead that day, she gave way and finished sixth, some 10 lengths back. Brian Hernandez, up for the Evangeline allowance victory, once again has been given the call by trainer Frank Leggio.