01/19/2005 1:00AM

Storm's Darling will run if healthy


NEW ORLEANS - Storm's Darling, an impressive winner over the Fair Grounds main track at a mile and 40 yards in her last start, is likely to be well supported in Saturday's Truly Bound Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

"She's training well and had a good workout the other day," said trainer Bobby Barnett on Wednesday, referring to a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds on Monday. "She had a little congestion up in her head but I don't think it's anything serious. We'll scope her Friday before the race and if she's okay we'll run her."

Storm's Darling has won her last three starts by a combined 23 lengths. She took a pair of off-the-turf events at Churchill Downs by 5 1/4 and 6 1/2 lengths prior to her 11 1/2-length score in an $80,000 optional claimer at Fair Grounds last time out.

Barnett also nominated Flager to the Truly Bound but is leaning toward running her in Saturday night's $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race.

"We're maybe going to send her to Houston," he said. "She seems to be better on turf than dirt, but she won here opening weekend in a race that was supposed to be on the grass. That worked out well. In her last race, at the three-eighths pole Flager looked like she was going to romp but she came up short."

Janeian experiments on dirt

Janeian is another mare who prefers turf but may run on the dirt in the Truly Bound. The 7-year-old Janeian finished off the board in her only start on the dirt.

"We're probably going to run her because we've been wanting to experiment with her on dirt," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "We've kind of been waiting to have our hand forced, and there's not another spot for her on the grass until March 12. She's trained well on dirt."

Janeian disappointed as the favorite in her last race, an optional claimer on the Fair Grounds turf, where she went the first six furlongs in 1:17.46 but couldn't hold on.

"I was not surprised when she got beat," said Calhoun. "I think she would have had a better chance if she was off the pace. But once nobody wanted to lead she was forced to set the pace, even though it was so slow. A mile and a sixteenth is as far as she wants to go anyway."

The Truly Bound field also includes last year's Silverbulletday winner, Shadow Cast; Furl Sail Handicap winner Chance Dance; last year's Chou Croute Handicap winner, Spectacular Lisa; plus Casual Attitude, Miss Confusion, Cashmere Miss and Family Business.

Patriot Act nearing a race

Patriot Act, a Grade 1-placed 3-year-old maiden trained by Neil Howard, is nearing his return to the races. Howard backed off on Patriot Act, a William Farish homebred by A.P. Indy, last October after the colt finished fifth in a Churchill Downs maiden race at 1-5 odds.

"That was a mistake," said Howard, who blamed himself for running Patriot Act back too soon after he had finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

"One thing I learned working with Mack Miller, he always said 'Whatever your gut tells you, that's what you should go with.' I don't like running a colt back so soon."

Howard has been working Patriot Act over the Fair Grounds track and hopes to start him in the next week.

'Worldwind' preps for stakes

Multiple stakes winner Worldwind Romance heads a field of six entered in Friday's feature race, a $38,000 allowance race at about 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for 4-year-olds and up. The race is the prep for the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap at the same distance on the grass Feb. 12, part of Louisiana Derby Preview Day.

By far the most experienced horse in the field, Worldwind Romance won the My Frenchman Stakes at The Meadowlands and the Cherokee Run Handicap at Churchill Downs back-to-back last fall. The 7-year-old Worldwind Romance, trained by Gamaliel Vazquez, has a 9-2-3 record in 27 lifetime starts but may need a race after being off since November.

Western Roar, who finished second to Worldwind Romance in the Frenchman and Cherokee Run, appears to be the main rival. Parker Run, Wrzeszcz, Elegant Fame, and Davids Expectation complete the field.