07/20/2004 12:00AM

Sweet Macaroni starting to make Young a believer

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How good is 2-year-old filly Sweet Macaroni? One gauge could come Thursday, when Equestrian Girls, who was second to Sweet Macaroni last out in a maiden race, runs back in the second race at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

Sweet Macaroni powered to a 5 1/4-length win over Equestrian Girls, who was favored, when both made their career debut on July 1. Sweet Macaroni is now being pointed for the $50,000 Southern Belle at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 22.

"I think she's for real," said Troy Young, who trains Sweet Macaroni. "She's been doing everything right. It's kind of hard to get high on [young horses]. They've got to prove it in the afternoon. But she had me excited before the race, and I was more excited after she ran. She's got all the signs of a decent filly."

Sweet Macaroni impressed with her stalk-and-pounce win in her five-furlong debut, as well as her physical looks. She is a Louisiana-bred daughter of Malagra, who is the sire of multiple stakes winner Hallowed Dreams. Mike Kennington bred Hallowed Dreams, as well as Sweet Macaroni.

"She doesn't look like a 2-year-old filly," Young said of Sweet Macaroni. "She looks like she's 3. She's long, tall."

Young looks for Sweet Macaroni to be at her best at about six furlongs, and is pleased that she will pick up an additional half-furlong for the Southern Belle.

Sweet Macaroni, who races for Five Star Stable and Andrew Herbert, is one of a number of quality 2-year-olds Young has in his barn this year. He has gone 3 for 4 with his 2-year-olds this meet at Louisiana Downs, and has also developed stakes winner Smilin Fine.

Smilin Fine remained perfect in two starts when he won the $100,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity earlier this month at Evangeline Downs. He is getting some time off, and could return for the $50,000 Stardust for Louisiana-breds on Oct. 23.

Placid Star and Happy Ticket on collision course

A showdown between two outstanding 3-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies appears to be looming. Placid Star, who ran her record to 7 wins from 8 starts with her victory over open company in an overnight handicap last out, will move back to the statebred ranks for the $70,000 Elge Raspberry on Aug. 7, said her trainer, Sam David Jr.

That race is also the goal for Happy Ticket, who has won both of her races in sharp fashion for trainer Andrew Leggio Jr.

"She's been an impressive filly," David said of Happy Ticket. "It's going to be an interesting race."

Placid Star has won five stakes in her career, and will be cutting back to seven furlongs for the Elge Raspberry after winning at a mile in the overnight handicap July 11.

Leslie's Love headed to Hallowed Dreams

Leslie's Love is being pointed for two upcoming races at Louisiana Downs: a $32,000 overnight handicap on Aug. 1 and the inaugural $50,000 Hallowed Dreams on Aug. 15, said her trainer, Young. Both races will be run over six furlongs on dirt, with the Hallowed Dreams restricted to fillies and mares bred in Louisiana.

Leslie's Love has been one of the best female sprinters in this region for the past few years. She has won 20 of 53 starts and $591,684. She races for Donald Foret.

* The best group of horses on the card Thursday run in the ninth, a $30,000 claiming sprint at about five furlongs on turf. Among the starters are Top Commander, who is shooting for his third straight win; Lac Laronge, a stakes winner returning from a layoff; Capazuri, a leading contender for trainer Bret Calhoun; and stakes winner Kentucky Bay.