12/15/2005 12:00AM

May Gator just needs clean trip


The Furl Sail Handicap is bursting with horses, but toeholds for handicappers are much more difficult to find.

Fourteen were entered in the $75,000 Furl Sail, a one-mile grass race Saturday at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs, and in a race where the favorite is difficult to find, picking a winner is going to be a major challenge.

"People don't realize that so much of the time in turf races, it all comes down to who gets the trip," said trainer Steve Flint.

Flint's starter in the Furl Sail, May Gator, got the wrong trip last time out and finished second in a high-end grass allowance Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. But that's the story of her year. May Gator has run well plenty of times, but is winless in nine 2005 starts.

"Everybody says she has seconditis and all that, but she runs hard, and she's just run into some nice horses, I think," said Flint.

May Gator shipped in from Flint's Kentucky base in good shape, and Flint says she's coming into the Furl Sail in good form. It's much more difficult to read the form of Black Rock Road, who finished eighth in a high-class Woodbine stakes race when she was last seen Sept. 18 and has made only seven starts as her 5-year-old birthday approaches. Black Rock Road has plenty of physical ability - it's her mind that has been amiss at times.

"She needs schooling, a blindfold at the gate and all that," said trainer Al Stall.

Black Rock Road has been based in Canada throughout her career and only recently shipped into Stall's Louisiana string. She appears to run best fresh and has worked over the Louisiana Downs main track since arriving. Stall said he was told Black Rock Road prefers outside trips, which is good, since she breaks from post 9 under Gerard Melancon.

Trainer Mike Stidham entered two in the Furl Sail, but said Culinary would run only if the race is rained off the turf. "She worked on turf at Arlington, and we didn't like the way she worked on that grass course," he said.

Culinary would be a major player on dirt. On turf, Stidham has a shot with Tisket a Tasket, who was second last out in an overnight turf stakes at Hawthorne.