Updated on 09/16/2011 6:41AM

Red Mountain tough rain or shine


NEW ORLEANS - With rain cascading onto the Fair Grounds turf course Saturday afternoon, the odds on Monday's feature staying on grass began rising steadily. Since Red Mountain was entered in the race, that figures.

Red Mountain has been rained out of his last two Fair Grounds grass races, which is unfortunate, since he performs well on this course. Fortunately, he also likes the main track, and turf or dirt, Red Mountain is a horse to be reckoned with in this high-end allowance.

Red Mountain faces five rivals in the ninth race, none of whom can be comfortably eliminated, which complicates analysis but brings potential betting value to a short field.

Red Mountain was actually entered for dirt in a Dec. 17 allowance race here, his first start since July for owner Dolphus Morrison and trainer Hal Wiggins. Racing over a sloppy track, he rallied up the rail to beat San Pedro by a half-length and was flattered when that horse came back to win the Louisiana Handicap.

Rained off turf in the Colonel Bradley Handicap 16 days ago, Red Mountain fought against a strong track bias and ran well to finish third, beaten less than three lengths.

Graded stakes winner Minor Wisdom, who likely will scratch if the race comes off turf, has yet to prove he handles the Fair Grounds grass. Nat's Big Party was transformed from a high-end claimer to a turf stakes horse this summer, but has started only once since September and is 0 for 4 on this course. Talkmeister comes off a sharp second to the talented Where's Taylor and was followed home in that start by returning rivals Gulf Storm and Kiss of Lion.

First breeze for Unbridled Elaine

Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine had her first breeze of the season Friday, working an easy half-mile at Fair Grounds. Trainer Dallas Stewart had planned to work Unbridled Elaine, who has been freshened since a third-place finish Nov. 22 in the Grade 3 Falls City Handicap, over the weekend, but moved the work up for fear of catching a wet racetrack.

The breeze was timed in 51 seconds, but Stewart was not looking for speed. The work was designed to get the 4-year-old rolling again as she prepares for her seasonal debut, which Stewart anticipates coming in the Feb. 23 Chou Croute Handicap here. From that, Unbridled Elaine could go on to run in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park.

for Fair Grounds entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Fair Grounds.

Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Fair Grounds.