01/07/2004 12:00AM

Sam Houston: Lavender Baby tries turf again

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Trainer Bret Calhoun has not made many wrong calls this meet at Sam Houston, where he has won with 41 percent of his starters. So his decision to move Lavender Baby, who has won her last two starts over the main track, back to turf for the first time since the spring in Friday's featured ninth race must be respected.

A three-other-than allowance over 1 1/16 miles on turf, the race drew eight fillies and mares, including leading contenders Won Ton Win, Rochelle, and Yahoo.

Lavender Baby will be well-bet even though she is trying to do something she has never done before - win over two turns and turf. Her hot barn and sharp form, in addition to a legitimate excuse in her only two-turn and turf start, make her stand out in Friday's race.

In a May entry-level allowance, Lavender Baby tried two turns on turf and finished third, beaten three-quarters of a length. She set the pace, but in the final furlong, her rider lost his whip. Lavender Baby returned to sprinting on dirt after that race and has won two of her last three starts. She will be ridden by Jeremy Beasley.

Terry Stanton has the mount on Won Ton Win, who is a two-time winner over the Sam Houston turf. In her most recent start, she faced males and finished fifth in a statebred allowance Dec. 27, beaten a length by multiple stakes winner Desert Darby.