07/30/2007 11:00PM

Many eyeing Lyrique as prep to Oaks

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They are lining up for the Lyrique. The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies at Louisiana Downs will not be run until Aug. 18, but already a number of promising runners in the region are being considered for the race. The Lyrique has a purse of $75,000 and serves as a first look at the candidates for the division's richest race of the meet, the $200,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks on Sept. 22.

Trainer Chris Hartman would love to see Buddha Lady develop into a candidate for the Oaks. She has won her last three starts by a combined margin of 18 lengths, her latest a three-length score in a first-level turf allowance at Lone Star Park on July 20. Prior to that race, Buddha Lady's two wins came for claiming prices of $20,000 and $25,000.

"She looks like she's just coming to herself," said Hartman. "I'm going to angle her for the Lyrique, and if things go right, a guy can always dream big. You can run for the $200,000."

Blue Angel was scheduled to arrive in the region from Florida on Monday. Her goal is the Lyrique, according to her new trainer, Bret Calhoun. Blue Angel is a recent private purchase by a partnership based in Texas, he said. In her last start, she ran fifth in an off-the-turf stakes at Calder Race Course on July 7. Her last victory came in an entry-level allowance on the Calder turf in April. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 79.

Plan Nine is a candidate for the Lyrique, according to her trainer, Joe Offolter. Now based at Remington Park, she is coming off a strong meet at Lone Star.

"She won a couple in a row and ran fifth in the Lone Star Oaks," Offolter said. "She got beat a length for all of it. I might take her down there for the race."

Alice Belle, who won the $50,000 Lone Star Oaks, might also turn up in the Lyrique.

"We'll look at it," said John Locke, who trains Alice Belle. "That's a possibility."

The Lyrique is also an option for Speed Fest, who has won 3 of her last 5 starts. Ahead of Her Time, who is undefeated in five starts, has been mentioned as a possible for the Lyrique, as has Dawn After Dawn, who earlier this year ran fourth in the Kentucky Oaks.

Fall races for True Tails

True Tails, a multiple stakes winner who finished fifth last out in the $125,000 Hallowed Dreams Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs on July 14, will race next in the fall, said her trainer, Jorge Lara.

"There's no races for her for a while," he said.

Lara said one goal would be the $45,000 New Braunfels for fillies and mares at six furlongs at Retama Park on Oct. 6.

True Tails did not handle the sloppy track in the Hallowed Dreams, he said. Earlier this year, she won the $50,000 Spring Fever and finished second to the future multiple stakes winner Miss Macy Sue in the $50,000 Carousel, both during the Oaklawn meet. True Tails, 5, has won 8 of 22 starts and $285,530.

Two straight for Pure Bandit?

Pure Bandit, who barreled to an 8o3/4-length win in a $30,000 conditioned claimer here July 13, steps up in class Thursday in the featured ninth race, a second-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. Pure Bandit could be favored because of her dominant win and the fact that she owns the field's highest last-race Beyer Speed Figure - a 71, earned for closing from sixth to win the 5 1/2-furlong race. Don Simington will ride her again. Chief rivals appear to be Savione and Dancing Dudete.