03/18/2008 11:00PM

Raspberry Wine seeks repeat


NEW ORLEANS - Raspberry Wine can take her bankroll past the half-million mark when she seeks a repeat win in the $60,000 Red Camelia Stakes on Friday.

Still running hard at 6, Raspberry Wine is part of a three-horse entry in a field of 13 fillies and mares in Friday's eighth race, carded at about 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Her earnings currently stand at $469,000.

Off for six weeks since being beaten by three-quarters of a length while finishing fourth in the Premium Distaff at Delta Downs, Raspberry Wine has one tepid work over the main track.

"She's never needed a whole lot of training," said trainer Al Stall. "She's a tough old mare and we try and keep happy."

The 2007 Red Camelia was part of a successful 5-year-old campaign for Raspberry Wine, who on the year won 5 of 9 starts and just less than $300,000. She hasn't won in her last five starts, although she has been competitive.

"She runs hard every time, and she seems to prefer the turf," Stall said. "The only thing I worry about is that with her age she may have lost a step."

One of the mares who has had her number of late has been Sammie Sam, who finished third, a head in front of Raspberry Wine in the Premium Distaff at Delta. She will likely be looking to close, though she hasn't found the winner's circle in more than a year.

Zarb's Ballerina enters the race on a roll, having won 4 of her last 6. She has been remarkably consistent, finishing in the money in 14 of 17 lifetime starts and in all five of her starts since being claimed by Danny Whited for $25,000 last September.

Carson City Babe heads Lagniappe

After winning her first two races, Carson City Babe went on a prolonged losing streak, fading in many of her races. When trainer Edward Johnston changed her bit two races ago, she began to hold on better.

Her last race, a victory in a second-level allowance, was her best effort to date, and if she continues to improve she'll be hard to beat in Friday's $60,000 Lagniappe Ladies Sprint going 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

"She was quitting at the end of races, and we didn't know why," said Johnston. "She's had a new bit for the last two races, and that's made a big difference."

Carson City Babe has earned all three of her lifetime wins on the Fair Grounds main track.

"She likes the Fair Grounds," said Johnston. "It's a great surface and she responds to it."

Her main competitors figure to be Patrick Mouton's uncoupled duo of Leesa Lee and Ida Maria, along with Princess Deelite.

Princess Deelite races for Emile Schwandt for the first time after being claimed for $50,000 in her last race, an impressive eight-length victory.