11/13/2009 12:00AM

More Than Tactics sent back to the turf


NEW ORLEANS - The connections of More Than Tactics have made some interesting choices in campaigning him. After the 4-year-old colt finished second in a maiden special weight at Louisiana Downs on the turf, trainer Morris Nicks jumped two conditions to send him in an off-the-turf second-level allowance. More Than Tactics responded with a resounding victory, coming home four lengths in front.

"I didn't want to skip the condition, but he needed a race," said trainer Morris Nicks. "I said, we'll put him in this race and entertain somebody. Now we'll never get that maiden win."

With the off-the-turf victory under his belt, Nicks responded by entering More Than Tactics back in a Sunday's feature race, the eighth, a first-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for a purse of $45,000.

With his lone victory having come in a race taken off the turf, the logical decision might be to return to the dirt, but More Than Tactics has shown he can handle grass, with second-place finishes in all three of his races on the surface.

Two races ago, he nearly held on, losing by a head after leading through most of the race. That race was enough to convince Nicks that More Than Tactics can handle the turf.

"He likes the grass or the dirt, either one," said Nicks. "He just doesn't like a real hard racetrack. Even when I breeze him in the mornings, I'll wait until the track has been softened up."

He will face eight opponents, none of whom have had much turf success. His most likely competition will come from Caspian, who finished second in a one-mile turf optional claiming race at Del Mar on Sept. 6. His lone victory came at six furlongs, however, so shortening him up while staying on the turf may prove to be the correct combination for him.

The Darp set the pace in the one-mile Lecomte in 2008, faltering to fifth.

The Darp, hasn't found the winner's circle since a maiden race in December of 2007, but he shows a strong series of works since his third-place finish at Delaware on Sept. 29.