03/27/2004 1:00AM

Suddenly, Placid Star looks like a star

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The more she wins, the funnier Placid Star's career debut looks. A Louisiana-bred 3-year-old filly by Placid Fund, Placid Star cost only $5,000 at auction. She had no breathtaking morning workouts - why not start her in a $15,000 statebred maiden claimer?

Placid Star laughed at those horses, winning by 12 lengths. Her connections might have done well with 7-1 win odds that day - they are doing even better now. Saturday at Fair Grounds, Placid Star won the $100,000 Sarah Lane's Oates Handicap, running her career record to five wins without a loss and pushing her bankroll to $207,000.

Placid Star, owned by James McCurry and her trainer, Sam David, is a Louisiana-bred standout. She now has won dirt sprints, a two-turn dirt stakes at Delta Downs, and the Sarah Lane's Oates, a grass race at about one mile.

Racing from behind, as usual, Placid Star and jockey Gerard Melancon followed the swooping far-turn move of second choice Young Emotions, wearing down that rival in the final furlong to win going away by two lengths. Placid Star paid $4.60 to win and was timed in 1:38.14 on fast, firm turf. Merry Mary finished third behind Young Emotions. Katlin's Rocket was fourth.

The pace horses began tiring at the three-eighths pole after running the opening half-mile in 47.81 seconds. Young Emotions was the first to pounce, taking the lead at the top of the stretch, but Placid Star and Melancon quickly were upon her, and Young Emotions could not keep up late.