03/07/2006 1:00AM

Sprinters must chase Twice a Deelite


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Twice a Deelite is at her best on the front end, and it appears she could control the pace Thursday in the featured ninth race at Oaklawn Park.

The six-furlong optional claimer for fillies and mares drew a field of eight, including useful sprinters .

has shown more early speed in her races than most of her rivals, and figures to be prominent from gate 4.

"It's very easy to tell, looking at her past performance, that she likes to be out there on the front end," said Patrick Mouton, who trains Twice a Deelite.

Twice a Deelite used front-running tactics to win an optional claiming race by six lengths during the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs on Dec. 11. In her last start, she was fourth in another optional claimer after setting the pace in the six-furlong race run in the slop at Louisiana Downs on Jan. 22.

"We caught a drying-out and muddy racetrack and she was down on the inside," said Mouton. "The racetrack kind of took a toll on her. She tried hard."

The winner of that race, Platinum Princess, went on to finish second in the $50,000 Spring Fever Stakes last weekend at Oaklawn, while the runner-up, Lila Kay's Rose, returned in her next out to win an optional claimer, also at Oaklawn.

Twice a Deelite has been working at Louisiana Downs, her latest move a bullet four furlongs in 47.20 seconds. Mouton has given the mount to James Graham.

Class rise off claim for 12-year-old

, the 12-year-old who was claimed for $7,500 in his last start, moves into a $10,000 claimer in the first race Thursday. He will be looking for his 29th career win, and to do so he must beat Son of a Lue.

Taylor's Day could go off second choice to Son of a Lue on the heels of a sharp second-place finish last time. He is looking to become the second 12-year-old winner in the past week at Oaklawn. Page Two accomplished the feat last Friday.

John Cox claimed Taylor's Day for himself out of an Oaklawn race on Feb. 24. He has given the mount to Beverly Burress, the meet's leading bug rider, who has 10 wins.

* Tim Ritchey, who trained Preakness and Belmont winner Afleet Alex, is the guest for a question-and-answer session Thursday night at Coy's Steakhouse in Hot Springs.