02/02/2011 2:17PM

Sharp filly Red Hot Maria may be good enough to beat males in South Mississippi


Tom Amoss won the race last year with a filly, so why can’t history repeat? The eight-time leading trainer at Fair Grounds is back in the $40,000 South Mississippi Owners and Breeders Stakes with a proven entity in Red Hot Maria, so here’s the answer to that rhetorical question: It most certainly can.

Amoss sent out Red Hot Buddha to win the South Mississippi by 3 3/4 lengths last February at the New Orleans track, and when the six-furlong race is run Friday for the 16th time, Red Hot Maria will be the only filly in a field of 10 3-year-olds.

“This edition looks like it’s probably the best we’ve ever been involved in,” said Amoss. “But we have a quality filly that’s trained well since we tried her at two turns.”

Red Hot Maria was good enough to win a maiden special-weight race as the favorite in November at Churchill Downs. In her only subsequent start, she faded to finish last of six in a Fair Grounds allowance route on Dec. 30.

Pop-A-Top LLC, a longtime Amoss client, bred and owns both Red Hot Buddha and Red Hot Maria, as well as Forever Sure, an unstarted colt who will be coupled Friday with Red Hot Maria for wagering purposes.

Aside from the Amoss entry, an unbeaten gelding named Call should take plenty of action in the South Mississippi. Trained by Sam Breaux, Call ships in off back-to-back, clear-cut victories at Delta Downs.

The South Mississippi, carded as the eighth of 10 Friday races, is restricted to horses eligible under the by-laws of the Gulfport-based association that exists to promote the sport in Mississippi.

◗ Earlier Friday, in the only allowance on the card (race 3), Allworkandnoplay looks like the horse to beat if the $51,000 race remains as scheduled at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Otherwise, Grand Traverse, one of three entered as “main track only,” likely would become the favorite if weather forces the race to the dirt. Showers and chilly weather have been forecast for Thursday and Friday.

◗ Twin $60,000 sprint stakes for 3-year-olds, the Tiffany Lass (fillies) and the Black Gold (colts and geldings), will highlight a 10-race Saturday card at Fair Grounds. Each drew a field of six.