11/28/2007 12:00AM

Sweetness 'n Light looks best

EmailFair Grounds began its meet last week touting the improved quality of horseflesh on the grounds, and on Friday, the season's seventh racing day, we may finally be starting to see some of it.

The featured 10th race is an entry-level allowance, but more importantly, is for 2-year-old fillies around two turns on the main track. That would make this race the first local stepping-stone on the way to the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 8.

Eight were entered in the race, but several fillies can quickly be lopped off the list of logical contenders, a list that comes down to Sweetness 'n Light, Democrat Taxes, Diamondaire, and Eight Belles.

Democrat Taxes came within a head of clearing this condition over the Keeneland Polytrack, but more recently was an even third of six at Churchill, and may not have as much two-turn upside as others here. Diamondaire won her career debut at Remington Park, which in itself says something, since trainer Steve Asmussen's best horses were in Kentucky during the fall.

That said, Diamondaire's first start against other winners came in the two-turn $100,000 My Trusty Cat on Nov. 9 at Delta, and she managed a distant second of nine. Mark her down as another second-tier possibility.

That gets us to Eight Belles, another of the 2-year-olds who already has raced around two turns. In fact, Eight Belles, a $375,000 Unbridled's Song filly from the barn of Larry Jones, moved forward as soon as she was stretched out, and on Oct. 30 won a Delaware maiden race by 10 lengths. On the downside, Eight Belles coasted on a slow pace against only five rivals that day, and the water runs deeper at Fair Grounds.

Quicker than Eight Belles, but perhaps well-suited to two turns, is the race's potential standout, Sweetness 'n Light. Second by a nose while finishing with a rush in her career debut Sept. 9 at Arlington, Sweetness 'n Light left no doubt in a seven-furlong maiden race Oct. 14 at Keeneland, winning off by more than three lengths. By Distorted Humor and out of a Sky Classic mare, Sweetness 'n Light should adapt to the stretch-out to a two-turn mile on Friday, while making her dirt debut.

"The way she's worked on dirt, I don't see her having any trouble handling it," said trainer Mike Stidham.

Jamie Theriot picks up the mount for owner Pin Oak Stable - and might have landed on a good one.