01/19/2011 3:48PM

Little Polka Dot may be most likely rebound candidate


NEW ORLEANS – Little Polka Dot and Bella Medaglia might have been a little disappointing in their most recent races at Fair Grounds, but the two fillies are in much different positions coming into Friday’s featured sixth race here. Bella Medaglia must prove that after a long layoff she remains the same filly who finished second by a half-length in the Tiffany Lass Stakes last winter. Little Polka Dot, for her part, only needs to rebound to the form she showed Nov. 10 at Delta Downs to be a major factor in Friday’s first-level optional $25,000 claimer at a mile and 70 yards.

Both fillies will be running under lights -- Bella Medaglia for the first time – as Fair Grounds conducts its second Starlight Racing program this season. A nine-race card gets underway at 5 p.m. Central.

Bella Medaglia followed her runner-up Tiffany Lass performance with a distant fourth-place finish in the Silverbulletday Stakes on Feb. 20, and didn’t start again for almost 10 months. Her comeback came on Dec. 13 in an entry-level, main-track route allowance race, and – wearing front bandages for the first time – Bella Medaglia finished third of five. She has since posted two sharp-looking works at the Evangeline Training Center for trainer Glenn Delahoussaye, but bettors are left to ponder just where the filly’s baseline performance level lies at the moment.

Little Polka Dot may not possess Bella Medaglia’s innate talent, but she seems more of a sure thing to run her race. In her first start for trainer Tom Amoss, Little Polka Dot crushed non-winners-of-three Louisiana-bred allowance horses in a one-mile race at Delta, a performance that made her an 8-5 favorite Dec. 11 in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies. But there Little Polka Dot failed to make the lead, chased a moderate pace, and had little stretch punch, finishing a fading third.

On paper, Little Polka Dot looks like a better horse when making a clear early lead. With little other early speed to challenge her, that’s where Little Polka Dot can end up on Friday night.