03/01/2005 12:00AM

Trainer pals become rivals

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NEW ORLEANS - Trainers Mark Frostad and Michael Doyle are good friends. In fact, Frostad joined Doyle in the winner's circle when the Doyle-trained Explosive Lad won a race earlier this meet. But their relationship turns into a friendly rivalry on Thursday when each of them saddles a horse in an extremely competitive $30,000 turf allowance for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds.

The Frostad-trained has 7 top-three finishes in 11 turf starts (3-0-4). She ran third in both of her local starts.

Doyle saddles Emma Anne, who might be sitting on a big race. She won her debut at Woodbine, then lost by 5 1/2 lengths there to repeat winners Shaunavon and Green Briar Rose. She was pulled up in a puzzling effort in her first start at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22, but ran well in her next start to finish third at 22-1.

A couple of horses who have beaten Ralla are in the race. Volobee beat her for second by a half-length two starts back, and Pad the Wallet finished a neck ahead of her in second in her last start.

, a 4-year-old English-bred filly, makes her second start in the United States. She raced in Ireland at 2 and 3, and won at first asking - but didn't win again in five subsequent starts in Ireland. She ran an even sixth in her North American debut on Feb. 7 at Fair Grounds, finishing about two lengths behind Ralla. She has worked well since.

is another who raced in Europe, and she is making her first U.S. grass start after running up the track in an off-the-turf route at Fair Grounds a month ago. Trained by Merrill Scherer, Tree Chopper, 4, won her first start as a 2-year-old and was well beaten in her only start at 3.

Special Jig, is by turf champion Theatrical, but both of her turf starts have been dismal.

Make My Heart Sing won her maiden at Fair Grounds in December and has been on the shelf since. Afternoon Dreams has a win and three thirds in nine turf starts. Dyna's Dynamo, Foist, and Runaway Sreva have never won on turf.

Also on the card is a $62,500 optional claimer at six furlongs on the dirt for fillies and mares, headlined by Humor Me Molly, who won the Beautiful Day Stakes at Delaware Park last year.