03/18/2009 11:00PM

Tizaqueena tries to step up


Stormy West, winner of two Fair Grounds grass stakes for females, is long gone from Fair Grounds. Love to Tell, who won the $125,000 Bayou Handicap last month, was entered in Saturday's $60,000 Fortin, another filly and mare grass stakes, but will be scratched from the race. All in all, the Fortin might be a good spot for a new face, and Tizaqueena might be the filly to step in.

Tizaqueena has raced only four times and was laid off from January 2008 until December, but she won her comeback in solid fashion, then looked even better capturing her turf debut over second-level allowance foes Feb. 8. Further progression from an obviously talented filly would put her in a position to win the Fortin over 1 1/16 miles.

Ten were entered in the main body of the race, with Unforgotten to start only in the event of a rain-off. But Love to Tell, a two-time turf stakes winner this Fair Grounds meet, will not race Saturday, trainer Mike Burgess said.

"She galloped great this morning, but I'm going to skip this stakes," Burgess said. "She's had five races this winter, and we have plans for her later in the year."

Tizaqueena has had a lighter winter schedule, getting some six weeks of training since her sharp last-out win. In that second-level allowance, Tizaqueena made the pace, then ripped off a final quarter-mile in 23 seconds and change to win by almost two lengths over subsequent next-out winner Points of Grace.

"She's got to take another step forward to win, but hopefully she can," trainer Mike Stidham said. "I think she was plenty ready to run last time, but with that race under her belt, I think she can benefit from it. She did kick home and finished like a grass horse needs to finish."

Several horses who finished behind Love to Tell in the Bayou are back for the Fortin, most prominently Shytoe Lafeet, Nan's Joy, and Mizzcan'tbewrong. Shytoe Lafeet finished second to Stormy West in two grass stakes earlier in the meet, then finished a flat fifth in the Bayou. With a decent pace at which to run, Shytoe Lafeet might well rebound.

Mizzcan'tbewrong tracked Love to Tell and checked in second in the Bayou, while Nan's Joy rallied mildly for third in that race but might improve Saturday. Last-start allowance race winner Pretty Squall should be prominent in the early going.