06/05/2008 12:00AM

Smitty's Sunshine back home


Louisiana Downs does not have a stakes race on Belmont Day but it does have the next best thing - an open allowance without conditions at the always-interesting distance of five furlongs on the turf. Seven fillies and mares will line up in pursuit of the $27,000 purse, with another $3,000 available to Louisiana-breds.

Some of that statebred bonus money almost assuredly will be headed in the direction of Smitty's Sunshine. The crack turf sprinter, who hails from the Morris Nicks barn, will be returning to her home state after a disappointing fourth-place performance as the favorite in the $100,000 Mademoiselle Stakes at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby week. The company promises to be friendlier Saturday for the 5-year-old Seeking a Home mare who has won 2 of her 3 previous starts over the local turf. Nicks has enlisted the services of Francisco Torres, who is atop the rider standings after the first three weekends of racing.

Steamy Ridge, victorious in the $50,000 Beach Party Stakes in her grass debut here two weeks ago, appears to be the main threat to Smitty's Sunshine. The Wes Hawley charge began her career here on the dirt last spring as a juvenile and won her first two starts impressively on the dirt while odds-on both times. The Snow Ridge filly was not as successful in successive starts at Churchill, Fair Grounds, or Evangeline Downs but has returned to her past form. Don Simington has the call.