09/18/2002 11:00PM

Triple stakes winner tries turf


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Bedanken, a three-time stakes winner on dirt, makes her first start over the surface for which she was bred - turf - in the $50,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Saturday.

The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies tops the Super Derby undercard, and drew a field of 11, including local favorite Sheza Nasty Lady.

Bedanken wintered at Oaklawn, where there is no turf course, and made the most of her time there by winning two stakes. She closed with a rush to win the $50,000 Dixie Belle at six furlongs in January, then mastered two turns in her next start by winning the Grade 3, $75,000 Honeybee in March.

Following a third-place finish in the $50,000 Althea at Oaklawn in April, she was given time off. "She basically had been in training for a while, and deserved a little rest," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Bedanken for her breeder, Pin Oak Stud.

Von Hemel said he looks for the filly to handle the surface switch Saturday.

"She's by Geri out of a Strawberry Road mare, so I don't see it being much of a problem for her," he said. "We've been lucky to have the opportunity to breeze her over the turf. She's ready to go."

The chief threat to Bedanken, the 119-pound highweight to be ridden by Don Pettinger, is Sheza Nasty Lady, who gets the services of Robby Albarado.

In her last start, Sheza Nasty Lady was a wire-to-wire winner of the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap on the Louisiana Downs turf Sept. 1. Before that race, she finished a troubled third to fellow DeBartolo starter Just Scarlet in the $50,000 Chapel Belle, also over the local turf. Troy Young trains Sheza Nasty Lady for Danny Butler.

Another of note in the DeBartolo is Chula, a fast-closing second to Sheza Nasty Lady last out. Jorge Chavez has the mount for trainer Duane Knipe.