12/10/2008 1:00AM

One Across rested for dash


NEW ORLEANS - The ninth race on Friday presents itself as one of the more wide open betting affairs of the first month of Fair Grounds racing. The third-level allowance has drawn a field of 10 fillies and mares, and is carded at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, for a purse of $46,000.

With the morning-line favorite, Precious Kiss, entered for the main track only, the turf event would seem to be within the reach of many, and she who comes back best after a layoff will take down the prize.

The most probable candidate seems to be One Across, who enters this race off four months without a race. Her last effort, a 13-length defeat going 6 1/2 furlongs at Woodbine, was a disappointing mystery to her connections.

"We never really found a reason for the last race, and nothing was physically wrong," said trainer Malcolm Pierce. "We sent her to the farm, she had a break, and then there were no races for her at the end of the Woodbine season."

One Across has been working steadily for her comeback, with three nice works over the Fair Grounds dirt after working the best of 51 on the Polytrack at Woodbine. Pierce figures that she might do well on the dirt, though he has only raced her only on synthetics and turf.

"I think she'll like the 5 1/2 furlongs on turf," said Pierce "but they are calling for a week of rain, and we'll probably let her run on the dirt if the race is moved."

Also entering after four months off from racing is Blue Angel, who finished sixth, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths, in her last race, the Adena Springs Matchmaker Turf Sprint on Aug. 23 at Remington Park.

Her trainer, Bret Calhoun, has been pointing her toward Fair Grounds turf races, thinking the long stretch and turf course itself will favor Blue Angel's closing style.

"The Lone Star turf was speed biased, so we backed off her and prepared her for the Fair Grounds," said Calhoun. "Down here, the speed is not so good, the stalkers and closers do better."

One of the speed horses who will try to last is Bellicose, the only entrant coming into the race with a promising recent effort. She led throughout in her last, a five-furlong claiming race on Nov. 6 over the Churchill Downs turf. In that race she just lasted, and she will have to go an extra half-furlong against slightly better company this time out.