06/14/2006 11:00PM

Nicks Night a wild card in Seven Stars


There is no shortage of stakes winners to choose from Saturday in the inaugural running of the $50,000 Seven Stars, a 1 1/16-mile race for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares at Louisiana Downs. One of the most interesting entrants in the field, though, is a recent claim, Nicks Night.

Six fillies and mares were entered in the Seven Stars. Among the leading contenders are Calista Ridge, who has won her last three starts, including the $50,000 Ladies at Evangeline Downs in her last out March 25; Miriam L, who is making her first start since her September win in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Oaks at Louisiana Downs; and Equestrian Girls, who won the $100,000 Red Camelia over the local course in January.

Adding intrigue to the race is Nicks Night, who has one win on dirt and has made nine of her last 10 starts on turf. She was claimed for $25,000 out of her last start, when she ran seventh in an off-the-turf race contested in the slop May 5. Nicks Night was taken from that race by Carl Moore Management and trainer Bret Calhoun.

"She's been strictly grass," said Calhoun. "I've breezed her twice on the dirt and she's worked fantastic. Maybe she won't take the dirt in the race. Maybe she won't take the kickback. I don't know. If she runs anywhere close to the way she's trained on it, we'll be fine."

Nicks Night worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds June 2, then came back and went the same distance in 49.60 on June 11. She will remove blinkers Saturday and be ridden by Donnie Meche.

"I was just toying with her in the mornings," said Calhoun. "I breezed her without blinkers the last work and I thought it was just a fantastic work."

Calhoun said that Nicks Night is stakes-placed on turf, and he plans to run her on the grass. He said a possible goal could be the $100,000 Walmac Farm Matchmaker for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 19.

That race figures to be a target for several starters in the field Saturday, including Intractabie. She moves back to the Louisiana-bred ranks after closing to defeat open company by a half-length last out in an optional claimer on turf May 28. The race marked her first start since January.

E.J. Perrodin has the mount on Intractabie, whose trainer, Patrick Mouton, has won the last two statebred stakes at Louisiana Downs.

The field for the Seven Stars also includes the stakes-placed Blueyed Lass, who is trained by Al Stall Jr.