05/20/2004 11:00PM

Loss unlikely for Placid Star

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Placid Star, her perfect record on the line, returns to the main track and a sprint distance Sunday, when she goes as the heavy favorite in the $50,000 Fantasia Stakes. The six-furlong dash for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies drew a field of eight.

Placid Star is trained by Sam David, who owns the filly with partner James McCurry. She turns back from two turns on the turf, having most recently won the Sarah Lane's Oates Handicap over the Fair Grounds turf on March 27. A daughter of Placid Fund, Placid Star has changed distances regularly in her career and has made six trips to the winner's circle, including three stakes events, on both turf and dirt.

The real race seems to be for second, as Placid Star has previously defeated more than half of her Fantasia rivals in convincing fashion. Gerard Melancon will once again ride the favorite at 122 pounds.

Von Braun, who has finished the closest to Placid Star this year with a couple of runners-up performances, will once again try for the upset. The latest of those bridesmaid finishes came two starts ago in the Battler Star Handicap at Fair Grounds. After setting the early pace that day, Von Braun was unable to match strides with Placid Star in the late going and lost by two lengths. Most recently, Von Braun flattered Placid Star by winning the Azalea at Delta Downs by a hard-earned three-quarters of a length March 19, with Shane Sellers in the irons. Steve Asmussen will give leading rider Lonnie Meche a leg up Sunday.

Others in the Fantasia field include Shes Dixies Eskimo, who won an allowance at Evangeline Downs after making a furious rally down the lane; and Just Plain Vanilla, who placed in a stakes over the winter at Fair Grounds and finished fourth in allowance company here last weekend.

Lanerie back in his home state

The strong jockey colony at Louisiana Downs got a little stronger this weekend, when former regular Corey Lanerie returned from Arlington Park for the summer. Agent Rick Mocklin wasted little time in booking mounts for Lanerie, a native of Lafayette, La., as his client was named aboard eight for Saturday.

"Business dictates what you have to do," Mocklin said Friday morning. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start at Arlington, and with the short fields and the struggle for horses there, we decided to come back to Louisiana Downs.

"This is something we have discussed for some time, making Louisiana Downs and Fair Grounds our circuit," Mocklin said. "This place seems to be up and coming with the slots in place, and the purses are comparable with Chicago."