07/30/2003 11:00PM

Tiva's Little Sis must catch Heart of the Cat


The $50,000 Chapel Belle Stakes at Louisiana Downs reads like the classic tortoise and hare tale. Heart of the Cat, a front-runner, figures to have to hold off Tiva's Little Sis, a closer, to win Saturday's 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Others in the race, which is a steppingstone to the $75,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks on the Super Derby undercard Sept. 20, include Page Me Later, winner of the $35,000 Sam Houston Oaks, and Churchill Downs maiden winner Lady Sabrina.

Company lines point out Tiva's Little Sis and Heart of the Cat as the leading contenders. Each has lined up against some quality runners in their past few starts. Tiva's Little Sis finished second to Petionville Indeed last out in the $100,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks on July 4, while Heart of the Cat wired the field in the prep for that race June 14.

In the Oaks, Tiva's Little Sis rallied from well back. Before that race, she won her maiden and an entry-level allowance race at Lone Star. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the mount to Lonnie Meche.

Heart of the Cat has been flattered since her allowance score June 14 as the third-place finisher from that race, Letithappencaptain, has returned to win the $50,000 Fantasia at Louisiana Downs. Don Pettinger has the mount for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

'Seabiscuit' gets announcer attention

Frank Mirahmadi, the announcer at Louisiana Downs whose voice was used for the Santa Anita racecalls in the movie "Seabiscuit," will be in Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 5 to emcee the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association national awards dinner at Walmac International.

On that day, Churchill Downs announcer Luke Kruytbosch will fill in at Louisiana Downs.

Mirahmadi, known for his racecall impressions-ranging from Trevor Denman to Rodney Dangerfield, was sought out by "Seabiscuit" producers to create old-style racecalls for the movie. He prepared for his role by listening to tapes of past greats who called races in Southern California.

"I actually bought a tape of Joe Hernandez racecalls on E-Bay," Mirahmadi said.

Mirahmadi added that he had already done impressions of late announcer Harry Henson, and used the styles of those two men to form a sound for "Seabiscuit."

"I also studied Daily Racing Form charts on Seabiscuit's races prior to going to New York to do the recordings," Mirahmadi said.

Because of the movie, Mirahmadi has been fielding calls to do voiceover work.

Racing exhibit in works

An extensive Louisiana racing exhibit that will be displayed during the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport in Oct.-Nov. 2004 is being compiled. The display also will tour the state's tracks, and could include a symposium during its fair run at the Louisiana State Museum Exhibit Building.

Following its showings, a permanent home will be sought for the exhibit.

Organizers are seeking historical photos from the racing community, as well as significant racing items that can be loaned or donated to the project. For more information, contact chairperson Revella Norman at (800) 845-4272.