08/27/2008 12:00AM

Tortuga Flats meets Royal Madame in rematch


Tortuga Flats will get a rematch with Royal Madame in the second race Friday at Louisiana Downs. The two last met in the $100,000 Matchmaker at 1 1/16 miles on turf Aug. 2, and Tortuga Flats rallied for third, beaten three-quarters of a length by wire-to-wire winner Royal Madame. Both shorten up to 7 1/2 furlongs on turf for the allowance Friday, which is restricted to fillies and mares bred in Louisiana.

"I like the distance for her," said Ralph Irwin, who trains Tortuga Flats for John Balensiefen. "I think she's better going a mile, or seven and a half. I like that for her."

Tortuga Flats has made three career starts at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, and won them all. She also is 5 for 5 at a mile on turf. Kirk LeBlanc has the mount Friday, and with a good performance Tortuga Flats could advance to the $100,000 River Cities at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20, Irwin said.

One of Tortuga Flats's younger brothers, Oro Tributo, is set to make his turf debut next month at Louisiana Downs. Troy Young, who trains the horse, said he is being pointed for the $150,000 A.L. "Red" Erwin, a restricted stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf Sept. 6.

Oro Tributo is a half-brother to Tortuga Flats by Gold Tribute. He has won his last two starts, a maiden and a first-level allowance, both at two turns at Evangeline Downs. Oro Tributo is also a full brother to Tortuga Straits, who went over the $500,000 mark in earnings with his recent win in the $100,000 Cajun at Louisiana Downs.