12/20/2009 12:00AM

Tencaious is more than just a rematch


NEW ORLEANS - Though the Tenacious Handicap has the looks of a rematch, featuring the fifth meeting between classy veterans Secret Getaway and Good and Lucky, it is impossible to overlook the other talent in Sunday's feature race at the Fair Grounds.

Carded as the ninth, and going 1 1/16 miles over the main track, The Tenacious has drawn a field of eight older horses, all with impressive resumes.

Good and Lucky is the horse for the course, with a gaudy 5 wins and 2 seconds from 9 starts at the Fair Grounds, including a Dec. 3 victory over Friesan Fire in a high-level allowance race.

Good and Lucky finished second in the Tenacious last year, 2 3/4 lengths behind Secret Getaway, beginning a series in which each horse has beaten the other twice.

"We're looking forward to a rematch with Secret Getaway, as they had a history last year," said Ruth Schmidt, assistant trainer to Josie Carroll. "I think he feels great, and is going into the race in really great shape."

For Secret Getaway, the Tenacious will be his first race since finishing fifth the Grade 2 Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows in June. He has been training steadily over the Fair Grounds main track, where he finished second last March in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

"He had a pretty hard campaign and we gave him a break," said trainer Mike Stidham. "He's come back nicely, and I hope he runs like he's been training."

Several others look capable of playing the spoiler.

Paul McGee sends the confusingly named Dubious Miss, a 5-year-old gelding who has had an impressive 2009, missing by a neck in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway, and finishing second by a half-length in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap.

His last effort was the Grade 2 Clark Handicap, where he came from 17 lengths back to finish sixth, 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Blame.

King Dan enters this race off a victory in a second-level allowance over the turf here. His trainer, Dallas Keen, feels that he is better over the main track.

"That was on the turf, and he's much better on the dirt," said Keen. "He's sharp right now."

The largest bankroll in the field belongs to Stonehouse, a 5-year-old, who has done some of his best running in 2009 as he won the Gulf Coast Classic at Delta in February and the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn in April.