02/04/2011 12:42PM

Smoothcideup looks for old form at Fair Grounds


A pair of statebred allowances that serve as co-features seem to give off the impression that Fair Grounds racing officials took a thinly veiled “You can’t fight the Super Bowl” approach when carding nine races for Sunday.

True, Sunday will be nothing like last year in New Orleans, where citizens went absolutely wild in anticipating and celebrating a Super Bowl victory by their beloved Saints. Yet the National Football League behemoth clearly overshadows all else, and the result at Fair Grounds is a rather ordinary Sunday card that appears to concede as much.

The first co-feature comes early in the day as the second race, when Smoothcideup will try to use an encouraging recent third-place finish in trying to register his first win in more than a year. Bred and owned by Earl Bellamy and trained by Morris Nicks, Smoothcideup will break from post 1 under Richard Eramia in the $43,000, second-level allowance scheduled for a mile on the turf. Seven of the nine Louisiana-breds in the race, including Smoothcideup, are entered for a $25,000 claiming tag as permitted by the optional race condition.

“It looks like he could go forward off that last race,” Nicks said. “Naturally, the race has got to stay on turf for me to run, because that’s what he wants. I do think he’s trying to get back to the form he had here last year for me, or at least he’s acting like it.”

First to Bingo, with Anna Napravnik to ride, looks like another top contender in the second race. First to Bingo was second when finishing a head in front of Smoothcideup in a Jan. 15 race run under similar conditions.

The second co-feature goes as the eighth race and is for horses who have never won four races with an optional claiming price of $35,000. Canon Man would be tough to deny if he can repeat the Jan. 6 effort that carried him to victory for jockey Kerwin Clark and trainer Michelle Lovell. Eight are entered in the $45,000 sprint, with perhaps Heavenville looming the main threat.

Also on tap Sunday are a $47,000 maiden special weight sprint (race 6), a $39,000 statebred maiden sprint (race 3), and a $26,000 optional claiming route (race 4).

First post Sunday is 12:40 p.m. Central, with the last race set for 4:46, less than an hour before Super Bowl kickoff.

◗ Napravnik has appealed a seven-day riding suspension that was to have begun Sunday. A hearing with the stewards has not yet been scheduled.