07/22/2002 11:00PM

Midge Too back in prep for Monique Rene


Midge Too, one of the best female sprinters in this region, closed out last year by winning five straight races. She makes her comeback from minor knee surgery Thursday against a solid group of fillies and mares in the first race at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

The 5 1/2-furlong allowance will serve as her springboard to the $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap on Aug. 24.

Midge Too has not raced since passing the $500,000 mark in earnings Dec. 22 at Sam Houston Race Park when she won the $25,000 San Felipe. Her return to the races was delayed because she underwent surgery to remove a bone chip believed to be sustained during a workout in January.

"We took a little chip out of her knee. It was very small," said Jerry Cart, who co-owns and trains Midge Too.

Cart said he is pleased with how the mare has come back. "She seems to be going perfect, but you never know until you run them. We'll find out Thursday. I look for her to run a big race."

Midge Too had her best season last year as a 5-year-old when she won eight of 12 starts, including the Monique Rene, the $35,000 Victoria Handicap, the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies, and the $40,000 Suthern Accent.

Cart races her in partnership with her breeder, Lynette Burns. Leading rider Kirk LeBlanc has the mount Thursday.

The allowance also drew Taylor's Queen, runner-up in this year's Suthern Accent; Dancing Dreams, a stakes winner over the main track; Dixie Kitten, and Mike's Sister.

Keith Desormeaux has new base

After spending the past few years stabled at Louisiana Downs, trainer Keith Desormeaux is taking a different approach this meet by shipping in from his new training center in Maurice, La.

So far, Desormeaux's move has proved successful. He has won with four of nine starters at the meet, and has a chance to pad his stats Thursday in the fourth race with promising first-time starter French Feminina.

"We're going to try to get her to the $100,000 La Senorita," at Retama Park on Aug. 31, said Desormeaux.

Desormeaux and his father, Harris, recently built Thoroughbred Acadiana, a 60-acre training center that has a six-furlong track and swimming facilities in south Louisiana.

"We're mainly going down there with the intention of freshening for the Fair Grounds," said Desormeaux. "We're going to run at Louisiana Downs, we have some specific horses that fit there, and will ship some to Retama."

Ruiz goes for third stakes

Trainer Eddie Ruiz, who has won two of the eight stakes run at the meet, has an excellent chance to add to that total Saturday when he sends out the talented Dyna Penny and Took Out in the $50,000 Chapel Belle.

"Both fillies are training very, very well right now," said Ruiz.

Ruiz saddled Due to Win to capture the $40,000 Delicada on the main track last Sunday, and plans to start her on turf next in the $30,000 Old South Handicap on Oct. 12. She won the race in 2000.

Ruiz's other stakes score at the meet came with Due to Win's younger half-sister, Due to Win Again, in the $50,000 Honeymoon on June 29. She is being pointed for the $50,000 Sangue Handicap on turf Aug. 17.

Both horses race for Elvera Scarberry. Despite their similar pedigree have few similarities. "They're so different, it's unbelievable," said Ruiz. "Due to Win likes to close, and is versatile in that she runs on dirt and turf. Due to Win Again stalks, and is strictly turf."

* Yearlings will be on the block Aug. 4 during the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders' Sales Company's summer open mixed sale at Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette. A total of 126 horses have been cataloged to the one-day sale, including horses of racing age and broodmares.