05/28/2009 11:00PM

Louisiana Downs' top trainers face off in sprint


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The race for leading trainer promises to be a tight one this year at Louisiana Downs, with every victory proving to be crucial. Sunday's featured eighth race looks to provide some early season drama in that regard as four of the meeting's five leading trainers will be represented in the five-furlong allowance dash on the grass.

Time Well Spent could be favored after narrowly missing in her turf debut at Evangeline Downs in her last start. Trained by Michelle Lovell, who has won with 4 of her first 7 starters of the current stand, Time Well Spent is an Arkansas-bred 3-year-old filly by Storm and a Half. Prior to her recent second-place performance, she also was the runner up in the Rainbow Miss against fellow Arkansas-breds at Oaklawn earlier this spring as well as in the Silver Spur Stakes at Lone Star last summer at Lone Star Park as a 2-year-old. Lovell has given the call to Richard Eramia.

Morris Nicks, perennially a force to be reckoned with on the grass, will send out Foxy Flyer in Sunday's feature. Last seen winning a maiden claiming event at Fair Grounds on the grass in late March, Foxy Flyer is an improving Whywhywhy filly who will have Pat Valenzuela in the saddle.

Charles Hukill, tied atop the trainer standings with Pat Mouton after sending out his fifth winner of the season on Thursday's card, will saddle Phu Bird Sunday. Phu Bird has been idle since winning her only start last September here. She has been training steadily for her return and will have defending riding champ Don Simington handling the tack.

Mouton will be represented by Our Sassy Ten and Shoppin Shirley. Our Sassy Ten was a $15,000 claim out of her second start and will be making her debut on the turf. Mouton's brother-in-law E.J. Perrodin will ride.

Shoppin Shirley makes her second start of the meeting following a third-place performance over the main track on opening weekend. The 4-year-old daughter of Cat Thief has lit the board in two of her four grass attempts and will be ridden by Curt Bourque.

* Nicks unveiled a potential future star on the grass in Thursday's third race, a maiden special weight affair.

Under confident handling by Valenzuela, My Stormy Angel ($5.20) stalked the pace in the early going before being eased out for room on the second turn of the one-mile test. The Storm Day filly engaged the first flight in professional fashion with a furlong remaining before drawing away to win by two lengths.