09/03/2004 11:00PM

Nitro Chip a question mark on the grass


In order to separate Nitro Chip and Walk This Way in the $50,000 Scott's Scoundrel at Louisiana Downs on Monday, handicappers need to make a judgment call. What is more important, a hot horse, such as Nitro Chip, or a horse with established turf form, such as Walk This Way?

Both are top contenders in the inaugural Scott's Scoundrel, a 1 1/16-mile turf race restricted to 3-year-olds bred in Louisiana.

Nitro Chip comes into the race following a big win in the $75,000 A.L. Erwin on Aug. 8. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 97 for his 4 1/4-length victory, and with that win remained perfect over the main track at Louisiana Downs.

As for turf, Nitro Chip has made just one start on the surface, and he had no chance to run his race after he stumbled badly at the start. So that leaves unanswered questions with regard to his ability on turf, as well as two turns, as the race was his first going long. Regardless, Nitro Chip merits respect, and could go favored for trainer Sam Breaux and jockey Donnie Meche.

But those wanting something more proven on turf will cast their lot with Walk This Way. He won the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap at a mile on turf at Fair Grounds in March, and since then has placed in other stakes. The highest earner in the field, he is trained by Patrick Mouton and will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

Another stakes winner in the field is Old Lee, who was the runner-up in the Gentilly.