02/06/2009 12:00AM

Tizaqueena may rule on the turf


NEW ORLEANS - When a second-level dirt-route allowance race at Fair Grounds failed to attract enough interest to make it onto a racing program, trainer Mike Stidham had Tizaqueena's pedigree to fall back on.

"Her pedigree on the bottom side is turf," Stidham said. "We eventually wanted to put her on the grass."

Eventually turns out to be Sunday - barring a rain-off - when Tizaqueena makes her grass debut in her fourth career start, one of seven fillies and mares entered in a second-level allowance race carded for one mile on the grass.

Tizaqueena is by Tiznow, who is not noted as a grass sire, and her dam, Issaqueena, did not have a great career on any surface. But her second dam, Ziggy's Act, won the Grade 3 Pucker Up on grass, and Tizaqueena looks talented enough to win Sunday's race if her dirt form transfers to grass. Tizaqueena won her career debut about 13 months ago by five lengths, finished second in the Tiffany Lass Stakes, and then went on an extended vacation because of physical issues. She won her comeback race - her third dirt mile - here Dec. 19, but then had to get over a bout of coughing before Stidham could run her back. Tizaqueena breezed three times in the second half of January, and Stidham said that "her last work was phenomenal."

But there are plenty of other ways to go in the Sunday feature. Stealin' Kisses, who might set the pace, showed grass ability with a win and a second last summer at Churchill Downs, and despite trouble and a soft course, managed to finish fifth in a solid Saratoga graded turf stakes in July.

Talkin Indian won an entry-level turf allowance race here Dec. 7, and may have been compromised by a slow pace when she finished fourth at this class level on Jan. 12. Two horses just in front of her that day, Sarahlanesdestiny and Flaming Slew, are back in Sunday's race.

Snow Delicious was dropped into a $17,500 claimer two starts ago, was claimed out of a win that day, and came right back to capture an entry-level turf allowance here Jan. 22, making her 2 for 2 on the Fair Grounds course. And finally, there's Points of Grace, who has started her career with two wins and a second. From the Malcolm Pierce barn, Points of Grace was beaten a half-length by Talkin Indian in her turf and two-turn debut, but came back to win on Jan. 1, and should continue to improve.