12/06/2008 12:00AM

Points of Grace gets a turf try


NEW ORLEANS - Points of Grace wasn't entered in her first and only race with high hopes of a win; the point was to prepare her for the winter at Fair Grounds. But she exceeded expectations and won the maiden race going away by five lengths on Polytrack at Woodbine.

She'll bring that experience with her into Sunday's ninth race, a first-level allowance for fillies and mares going about a mile on the turf, for a purse of $44,000.

"Her breeding suggests that she wants long and on the grass, and I was trying to wait to run her on the turf, but we ran out of time," said trainer Malcolm Pierce.

So Pierce entered her in a six-furlong Polytrack sprint at Woodbine on Nov. 6 as a chance for her to get racing experience.

Points of Grace raced in midpack early in the field of 10 before taking over at the top of the stretch and drawing away. It was a powerful move that surprised Pierce.

"It was supposed to be a schooling race, but she outdid herself," said Pierce. "I think I have her in the right spot now, longer on the grass."

Points of Grace will meet nine other fillies, including Forever Red, who also arrives from Woodbine.

Forever Red has been lightly raced in 2008, but looks to be putting it together.

"She always seems to come up with something, nothing serious, but we had to give her some time off," said trainer Mark Frostad. "She's an honest filly, tries hard, and she likes the Fair Grounds turf course."

In her last effort, a $71,000 allowance at Woodbine, she finished second after taking the lead in the stretch going 1 3/8 miles. The cut-back in distance might be more to her liking, with her only win coming at 1 1/16 miles.

The other horse who looks to have a chance is Pretty Persuasion, who finished second three weeks ago in a turf allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on opening weekend of the meet.

She raced in second most of the way that day, briefly challenged at the top of the stretch, then held second by 4 1/4 lengths over the third-place finisher.

Trainer Mike Stidham was pleased with the race and thinks shortening up by a sixteenth of a mile will work in her favor.

"That was a big effort," said Stidham, "and a mile is definitely more suitable for her."