01/02/2009 12:00AM

Race shapes up as a family affair


NEW ORLEANS - There are more story lines at play in Sunday's ninth race than a soap opera. They include two half-sisters racing against each other, a father versus son matchup, and a trainer trying to win a race to please his most difficult owner, his wife.

Nine horses are scheduled to run on the turf in a third-level allowance with an optional claiming price of $62,500. They are going 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $48,000, and a case can be made for many of the entries.

Trainer Larry Jones has Tammy's Victress entered on the turf and has Haven's Honey entered for the main track only. With two days of rain predicted, a move to the dirt looks like a distinct possibility.

Tammy's Victress raced well in her first race back after colic surgery, finishing third in a classified allowance at Delaware on Oct. 25. She would be making her first start on the turf, and it wouldn't bother Jones any to see his two entries compete against each other should the race be moved to the main track.

"I'll run both of mine if it comes off the turf," Jones said. "Tammy's Victress will go well in the mud."

Jones's other entry, Haven's Honey, is owned by his wife, Cindy Jones, and has a strong history in off-the-turf races. She has raced in off-the-turf races four times and has come to the wire first in three of them.

Her most impressive victory came at this 1 1/16-mile distance in an off-the-turf allowance May 10 at Delaware Park. She dominated in that race, winning by 20 3/4 lengths, which is the way Cindy Jones likes it.

"Her owner doesn't like seeing her get beat," said Jones, "and I can't get away from hearing about it at night if she loses."

Richie Scherer will send two in the race, Shares Perfection and Mizzcan'tbewrong. Among his opponents is his father, Merill Scherer, who will send Trainee.

Of his two horses, Richie Scherer believes that Shares Perfection will handle the anti-speed bias of the Fair Grounds turf better, if she can relax.

"In her last race, Shares Perfection just got very aggressive and went right to the front," he said. "If she relaxes, she will run well."

The other family affair involves the two half-sisters, Apple Martini and Little Star, both out of Crafty Oak. They are a coupled entry, with James Graham named on both. Apple Martini looks more like a contender on the turf, with Little Star likely to go on an off track.