01/18/2011 3:06PM

Pierce giving Fun Filled another chance to stretch out at Fair Grounds

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NEW ORLEANS – The 3-year-old filly Fun Filled has talent. Just watch the replay of her career debut, a good-looking grass win on Oct. 3 at Woodbine. But that race was contested at seven furlongs around one turn, and at odds of 1-2 on Dec. 17 at Fair Grounds, Fun Filled set the pace and faded to finish a distant second in a two-turn mile. Her trainer, Malcolm Pierce, knows stamina is an issue for Fun Filled, but he wants to give her every chance to become a competent middle-distance grass horse this winter, and so has entered Fun Filled back in featured race 7 here Thursday, another one-mile grass allowance.

“I know she could win a five and one-half furlong race here,” said Pierce, who trains Fun Filled for owner-breeder Pin Oak Stable. “But for long-term goals, it’d sure be nice to be able to stretch her out.”

Fun Filled is by Distorted Humor, a sire who produces versatile offspring, but her dam is Confessional, who excelled in turf sprints. Fun Filled isn’t speed crazy but she was naturally fast enough to make the lead here last month, and Pierce thinks the key to Fun Filled succeeding at longer distances is to give her a target.

“I’d like to get her in a race with some speed, go get her to relax and finish,” Pierce said.

That might happen Thursday. Rail-drawn Accept has been on or near the lead in three of her four career starts, and could be sharp racing for the first time in almost two months. Royal Alluvial, drawn in post 7, stretches out from a turf sprint in which she stalked the pace, and figures to be forwardly placed.

Fun Filled is second choice on the morning line behind Suave Voir Faire, who, racing on dirt Dec.  30, finished second by a length to Silverbulletday Stakes-bound Daisy Devine. Suave Voir Faire was third on Ellis Park turf in her career debut, fourth in a Keeneland grass allowance, and won her maiden over Turfway Polytrack.

“I think she handles any surface,” said trainer Andrew McKeever.

But McKeever and Suave Voir Faire’s former trainer, Speedy Smithwick, believe Suave Voire Faire can improve, and McKeever will fit her with blinkers Thursday for the first time in a race.

There’s a 30 percent chance of rain Thursday, and should the race be moved to dirt, main-track-only Chloe Kate, 1 for 1 in main-track routes, should be a major factor.