02/23/2009 12:00AM

Selva tries turf in Mardi Gras


NEW ORLEANS - Selva was impressive in the Tiffany Lass Stakes here last month, leading the field into the turn and holding on for second place, 1 3/4 lengths behind Just Jenda and 2 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Four Gifts.

While Selva showed promise in that one-mile stakes, her first route race, she is entered in a sprint Tuesday at Fair Grounds, the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. It will be her first race on grass.

There are no questions about her ability to sprint. She has good early speed, and will be tough to catch in the Mardi Gras.

With solid works under her belt in preparation for this race, the main question mark surrounding Selva is how she will take to the turf.

"We hope she handles the turf well, and I think she will," said her trainer, David Carroll. "It would open up more races for us in the spring and summer."

While Carroll said that he would give Selva another chance at two turns, he feels she is best around one turn.

"We feel that her strength is going one turn," said Carroll. "She ran a good race in the Tiffany Lass, and she has earned another chance at two turns, but we wanted her to get into a race."

While Larry Jones is pointing Just Jenda to the bigger stakes for 3-year-old fillies, he will be represented in the Mardi Gras with On the Menu, who has looked impressive in her last two races. Two races back she defeated Heart Ashley, who came back to win two weeks ago in a first-level allowance.

In her last race, the seven-furlong Genesis Stakes at Delta Downs, On the Menu stalked the pace and dueled for the lead in the stretch before losing by a neck to Southern Yankee.

She's Extreme just missed in the $50,000 Dixie Belle Stakes on Jan. 24 at Delta Downs, finishing second by a half-length. She could be well-placed if she can move forward off that effort.

The most experienced horse in the field is the Steve Asmussen-trained A Day for Dancing, who in 10 races has nine finishes in the money. This will be her first try over the turf, but she has shown ability on Polytrack at Woodbine and Keeneland.