03/26/2010 12:00AM

Lovell feeling confident rain or shine


NEW ORLEANS - Shutupanddance has the talent to run short or long, on turf or dirt, hence the reason she was entered in two stakes, one going short, the other long, over the final three days of the meeting here at Fair Grounds.

The race on Friday, though, was for open company, and after seeing the lineup, trainer Michelle Lovell decided it was smarter to keep Shutupanddance against Louisiana-breds, so she was withdrawn from the Bienville Stakes in order to run on Sunday against statebreds in the closing-day feature, the $60,000 Red Camelia Stakes for older fillies and mares.

The Red Camelia, at about 1 1/16 miles on turf, is the ninth race on a 10-race card that brings to a close a meeting lasting more than four months. Lovell will head north to Louisiana Downs, flush with pride over a likely top-10 finish in the trainer standings and a growing stable made possible by the likes of Shutupanddance, who has won her last two starts here.

Most recently, Shutupanddance led from start to finish in a money allowance going 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 28. That race was rained off the turf, but she has proven turf form, having won a 5 1/2-furlong sprint on Jan. 3, so the move back to the turf on Sunday should not matter.

"She beat a lot of these fillies last time," Lovell said Friday morning. "There's a chance it might rain, but turf or dirt, she'll still run."

Shutupanddance will start from post 11 in a field of 12.

In her last start, Shutupanddance opened a big lead under jockey Shane Sellers and was fully extended to hold off Seven Seventythree.

"She was so keen on going to the lead," Lovell said. "Shane did a good job not fighting her. She was looking for the wire, but when the other horse came to her, she ran that last sixteenth on guts. She was coming out of the sprint and was fresh. I think she'll settle better this time."

Seven Seventythree is back for another round. Her turf form is not established. She was fourth in her only try, and that was more than a year ago.

Seven Seventythree is coupled with Hisse, who ran fifth in the Feb. 28 race that was rained off the turf. She has won twice in three starts on turf here, her lone loss coming in last year's Red Camelia, after which she was sidelined for 6 1/2 months.

Skipping Town is another major player. She rallied powerfully to beat an optional-claiming field on Feb. 21.