09/04/2010 12:36PM

Smitty's Moonshine finaly gets chance to get back on turf

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Smitty’s Moonshine is a more accomplished horse on dirt at this point in his career, but there are reasons to believe he is better on turf and that theory will get tested Monday in the $150,000 A.L. “Red” Erwin at Louisiana Downs.

The one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds bred in Louisiana heads a card of four statebred stakes worth $400,000.

Smitty’s Moonshine has won 2 of 8 starts, with both of those wins coming on dirt. But he has long been meant for the grass. On four different occasions Smitty’s Moonshine’s races have been rained off the turf, including his most recent, when he cruised to a one-length win in a first-level allowance route for statebreds July 29.

The Erwin will be just his second turf start, following a maiden special weight at Fair Grounds in February in which he finished second. That race was also his first at two turns, and he was ridden by Robby Albarado, who teamed with Smitty’s Sunshine in all three of his races this past spring at Fair Grounds.

“When we did get to run him on turf, it seemed like he was moving better, finishing up better,” said Morris Nicks, who trains Smitty’s Moonshine. “I liked what I saw on the turf that day, and Robby said he’s a different horse on the turf. He said he comes home a lot stronger on the turf than the dirt.”

Smitty’s Moonshine also gets good pedigree support for turf, as a son of Leestown, whose top grass runners include multiple stakes winner Lee’s Spirit. In addition, Smitty’s Moonshine is a half-brother to Smitty’s Sunshine, a multiple stakes winner on turf who earned more than $500,000.

“I think he’s got her determination,” said Nicks, who trained Smitty’s Sunshine.

Richard Eramia has the mount Monday.

◗ A year ago, Nicks sent out future Grade 3 winner Comedero to take the $50,000 Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds at Louisiana Downs. This year, he will be shooting for the race’s filly counterpart, the $50,000 Lady Razorback, with My Mandy Girl, a nine-length debut winner Aug. 13.

“She’s a hard-trying filly,” said Nicks. “She’s gutsy.”

In the Razorback, the lone winner in the field is Heza Rainbow.

◗ She’s Yare, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Watchem Smokey, leads the $150,000 Elge Rasberry at a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies bred in Louisiana.