04/09/2003 11:00PM

Luck seems to be with 'Code'

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Distinctive Code caught a few breaks this week on the road to the $75,000 Irving Distaff, Saturday's feature at Lone Star Park. The biggest may have come when Bien Nicole ran in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn last Saturday rather than in the Irving Distaff. In another stroke of luck, stakes winners Distant Valley and Lake Lady were entered in an allowance race Thursday night at Lone Star instead of in Saturday's race.

Distinctive Code is the highweight and probable favorite in the Irving Distaff, a 7 1/2-furlong turf race for older fillies and mares, but she can still expect a formidable challenge from Spectacular Dove.

The upset winner of the Victoria Lass Handicap over the dirt at Fair Grounds last month, Distinctive Code has proven to be more than capable on grass. She narrowly missed winning two races over the turf at Louisiana Downs last summer, including the Chapel Belle Stakes. In her only other turf start, the Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds in December, Distinctive Code set the early pace before faltering to sixth, 15 lengths behind Bedanken. Because the Fair Grounds turf course historically favors closers, that poor effort can be forgiven.

Distinctive Code, who had a solid breeze over the track here earlier in the week, will be ridden by Eddie Martin Jr. for trainer Larry Robideaux.

Spectacular Dove had a five-race win streak snapped in the Bayou Breeders' Cup at Fair Grounds on March 1, her stakes debut. But she showed her talent winning a prep for the Bayou on Jan. 30, defeating eventual Bayou winner Quick Tip, and a former Bayou winner, Histoire Sainte, who had previously been undefeated over the Fair Grounds turf. Gerard Melancon will ride Spectacular Dove for the first time Saturday.

Other contenders include Golden Rhythm and Academic Angel. Golden Rhythm comes into the race off a win against $75,000 optional claimers at Fair Grounds, her first victory since taking the Old South Handicap at Louisiana Downs in October. Golden Rhythm has shown an affinity for the Lone Star turf course, finishing second behind La Recherche in a division of this race last year.

Academic Angel, second in the Lone Star Oaks last year, returned from a layoff of more than six months and beat optional claimers at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17. She appears to be coming into Saturday's race the right way, with two bullet works in the last 10 days.