03/09/2005 12:00AM

Sister Swank stuck outside


NEW ORLEANS - The deepest race on the Fair Grounds card Saturday is drawing the least attention, but the $100,000 Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap appears to be a terrific betting event with a full field of 12 older fillies and mares and two also-eligibles entered for the 7 1/2-furlong race on the turf.

Sister Swank, the 5-2 favorite, drew the extremely unfavorable outside post in the field, posing a real problem for jockey Jerry Bailey.

"It's not the draw you want," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "She's a good filly. She belongs in this spot. It's just not where I want her to be drawn."

Sister Swank is the class of the field off her victory last fall in the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland on the turf at 1 1/16 miles. She has been knocking heads with Shadow Cast, a three-time stakes winner at the current meet, and finished third in the Bayou Breeders' Cup in her last start, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Bijou, who will break from post 4 on Saturday under Lonnie Meche, finished second in that race, a neck in front of Sister Swank. Bijou appears to near her top for trainer Donald Winfree and should be tough here.

Other top contenders include May Gator, a stakes winner who has been chasing Shadow Cast, and Spectacular Lisa, who won the Chou Croute on the dirt last year and finished second in that race this year.

Bejarano back on Colonial Colony

After a sharp second-place finish by Colonial Colony in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston on Jan. 22, trainer Dallas Stewart expected another good performance in last month's Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds. But Colonial Colony was never a factor in the race, finishing eighth of nine after racing wide into the stretch.

Stewart could find nothing amiss after the race, and said Colonial Colony has trained well since, so he is going to try him again on Saturday in the New Orleans Handicap, against the one-two-three finishers in the Mineshaft - Wanderin Boy, Pollard's Vision, and Alumni Hall - as well as Badge of Silver.

Stewart will reunite Colonial Colony with jockey Rafael Bejarano, who rode Colonial Colony to the biggest victory of his career, a 62-1 upset in last year's Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Bejarano has not ridden Colonial Colony in the four starts he has made since Colonial Colony was moved to Stewart from trainer Walter Bindner.

"Bejarano is going to be here Saturday, and he's won on him before, so hopefully it'll be a good fit," Stewart said. "The guy's had a lot of success with him, so we'll hope for the best."

Colonial Colony, a 7-year-old horse by Pleasant Colony, has won just four times in 36 starts. He has won once in four tries at Fair Grounds.

Indy Storm yet another Zito prospect

With his barn stocked with good 3-year-olds such as High Fly and Sun King, it's significant that Nick Zito would send a lightly raced colt still eligible for entry-level allowance company in a Grade 2 stakes. That's what Zito has planned for Indy Storm in Saturday's Louisiana Derby.

"We've been waiting for him to develop and expect a lot from him," Zito said of Indy Storm, an A.P. Indy colt who sold for $750,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September sale. "We ran him at a mile at Gulfstream and he closed for fourth after being bumped at the break."

Sky Brio tops Fair Grounds feature

Sky Brio is the likely choice in Friday's feature race at Fair Grounds, a $33,000 allowance for 4-year-olds and up at a mile on the grass. The 4-year-old Sky Classic colt, trained by Dallas Stewart and ridden by Donnie Meche, has been knocking at the door in this entry-level condition, missing by a nose to Idle Rumor at 7 1/2 furlongs last time out. This is his third start back after a layoff, and the extra distance won't hurt him.

Primm, a 4-year-old Wild Event gelding, is the only horse in the race to have won twice on grass, going 2-2-2 in 12 starts. Diplomatic Agent won his maiden earlier in the meet before tiring to seventh in his first try at the allowance level.

- additional reportingby Jay Privman