02/05/2010 12:00AM

Turf specialist can't wait any longer to run

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NEW ORLEANS - For Successful Mission, it has been a case of all dressed up and nowhere to go, as his connections have been trying to get him a race for the better part of two months.

It has been a rough meet for turf specialists like Successful Mission, and in his case it has reached the point that he will race in Sunday's featured seventh race, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs, even if it comes off the turf.

Successful Mission ran well in his first race here, finishing third in a second-level allowance on Nov. 26. He closed from more than seven lengths back to be beaten only a half-length. Since then, trainer Bill Mott has been trying to get Successful Mission back in a race.

He was entered for a race that didn't make the card in December, then scratched from a race on Jan. 10 when it was moved from the turf to the main track.

"When they took the race off the grass, Bill didn't want to run him," said assistant trainer Mike Kaetzel. "The weather has not been the best for the grass runners."

Successful Mission has impressed his connections in the mornings, with a solid string of works over the Fair Grounds main track. The strength of his morning works and the desire to have him race have his connections committed to running on Sunday.

"He hasn't missed a breeze and he's training great," said Kaetzel. "He'll run either way on Sunday. He didn't run well on dirt his first few times, but I think he's a better horse than that now."

For Atticus Kristy, it has been an even longer search for a race. The turf specialist has been rained off the grass three times during the meet, and has been unable to find a race since his Nov. 6 fourth-place finish at Churchill in a $50,000 claiming event.

Trainer Gary Scherer will send out Heliopsis, who ran his best race last time, wiring the field in a $25,000 claiming race over the main track on Jan. 3. Scherer claimed him from that race.

"Off the turf would be a lot better," said Scherer. "I've got a good chance with the bad luck Atticus Kristy has had getting a race on the turf."