01/11/2010 12:00AM

Sky at Sunrise trying turf


NEW ORLEANS - Sky at Sunrise has one gear. Fortunately for trainer Malcolm Pierce, it is a very fast gear, and they do write short sprints at the Fair Grounds.

"That's all she knows how to do: go as fast as she can for as far as she can," said Pierce. "Full out."

Sky At Sunrise's one gear may well be enough as she steps up into Monday's feature race, a second-level allowance for fillies and mares with an optional claiming price of $40,000 at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Even though she likes to run, Sky At Sunrise has proven to be a bit of a head case for Pierce.

"She's very difficult to train, a very high-strung filly," said Pierce. "We haven't gotten her to relax - we just work with her."

Though she has been difficult in the mornings, Sky At Sunrise turned in the fastest of 109 works going four furlongs on Jan. 4.

And in the afternoons, she is 2 for 3, including a very game effort in her last race. Sky At Sunrise took her second try at allowance company on Dec. 10, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint that was moved onto the Fair Grounds main track.

Fast out of the gate and clear early, Sky At Sunrise showed heart as she was collared at the top of the stretch but still rallied to win by a nose.

"She really dug in to keep her nose in front the last 100 yards," said Pierce.

The known quantities then: Sky At Sunrise has speed and heart. The last question is how she will take to the turf.

"I don't know how she'll do on the turf, but with her speed, this isn't a great turf course for her style," said Pierce. "I wouldn't mind if it came off the turf."

With the turf resembling tundra on a cold Saturday afternoon, the possibility of moving to the main track is a possibility.

If the race remains on turf, Sky At Sunrise will meet seven foes, including Ocean Colors, who is likely to be similarly speedy out of the gate.

In her last race, Ocean Colors finished third at this level as she attempted to come from off the pace. In her previous races, Ocean Colors had shown speed and set quick fractions.