12/27/2007 1:00AM

Prop Me Up capable on turf or dirt

EmailNEW ORLEANS - Saturday's Furl Sail Handicap, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, has handicappers and horsemen watching the weather and strategizing. Like many races over the past week, there are two handicapping puzzles involved - the race scheduled for the turf and the race as it would be run if it is moved to the main track.

The Furl Sail drew a full field of 14, including many strong contenders who were brought to New Orleans to race on the turf.

While good weather looks promising for Saturday, New Orleans has been inundated by rain, and more was predicted for Friday, making a move off the turf a real possibility.

Regardless of surface, Prop Me Up figures to be the one to beat. Winner of 4 of her last 5, including a victory in the Red Cross Stakes at the Meadowlands, Prop Me Up will be retired to the breeding shed in 2008.

While Prop Me Up is capable on either surface, trainer Gregory Sacco would not mind a move to the dirt.

"She's versatile, but it would be to our advantage if it came off the turf," he said. "The field would be reduced."

After Prop Me Up, the other contenders' stock will increase or decrease depending on the surface.

One who figures much tougher on the turf is Autobahn Girl, who narrowly defeated Our Dancing Babe at a mile on turf in the Pago Hop here Nov. 24. Autobahn Girl paid $61.80 to win after being well-beaten in her previous three races.

The Pago Hop was the turf debut for Autobahn Girl, and trainer Malcolm Pierce thinks that was part of the reason she woke up, and he said he would think about scratching should Saturday's race come off the turf.

"She ran so well on the turf last time out," said Pierce. "You'd have to give it some thought. We'll make a decision on race day."

Like Autobahn Girl, Platinee woke up when Bill Mott switched her from the main track to the turf, coming home a winner in her last two races.

Trainer Larry Jones has two horses entered. On the turf, Shytoe Lafeet is a proven contender, her last race a second-place finish at a mile in Rosenberger Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park in September. Jones's other entrant is Sweetdownthelane, who looks to benefit if the race moves to the dirt.

Nunnery has raced on the turf in 9 of her 10 starts, and been very hit-or-miss. Her last start was a victory in the mud in the Waya Stakes at Saratoga, and she deserves a second look should the race be moved to the main track.