10/18/2006 11:00PM

Spruce Limerick a natural on turf

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Spruce Limerick has some nice turf influences in her pedigree, and when the opportunity arose to get her on the grass last month, her connections jumped at the chance. The result was a career performance that stamps Spruce Limerick as the one to beat Saturday in the $50,000 Lady Luck, which is the closing-day feature at Louisiana Downs.

A one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies, the Lady Luck is one of five turf races on the card. Other races of interest include a $75,000 optional claimer that drew a slew of Louisiana-bred stakes winners, including Spruce's Prince, and a maiden special weight that marks the first start of Classy Beck, a half-sister to 15-time stakes winner Sarah Lane's Oates.

Spruce Limerick won a first-level allowance over 7 1/2 furlongs in her turf debut on Sept. 30, powering to a 2 1/4-length win. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 75, which is the highest career number among all starters in the Lady Luck.

"That was the first opportunity to run her on the turf and stretch her out, and she's come around real good," said Mike Burgess, who trains Spruce Limerick for David Humphrey. "It made a lot of difference. First off, she wanted to run longer, and second, she's bred top and bottom for the grass."

Spruce Limerick is out of the Spruce Bouquet mare Spruce Cutie, a winner on turf who produced Zarb's Miss Cutie, who won three straight turf races this meet at Louisiana Downs.

Spruce Limerick's maiden win came in her third start July 4, when she rolled home by nine lengths in a $25,000 maiden claimer for Louisiana-breds at five furlongs. Two starts later, she defeated open company in the allowance, using front-running tactics in both races. She will break from post 9 under Tracy Hebert.

"I think she'll fire back good," said Burgess. "The only thing that kind of hurts me is all the speed being on the inside and me being on the outside. But I don't really think this filly has to be on the lead. I think she can sit off of it, as well."

Others in the 12-horse field include Glamorous Cat, who in her last start was second by a neck in the $100,000 La Senorita at Retama on Sept. 2, and Cat Eyes, who was third to Spruce Limerick in the allowance Sept. 30.