01/03/2008 12:00AM

Two in search of stakes meet in turf mile


NEW ORLEANS - Both Praia Da Pipa and Aidan's Bella are on a hunt for black type that leads through the seventh race at Fair Grounds on Saturday, a third-level allowance for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf.

Praia Da Pipa returns to the races after a seven-month layoff. She should be ready for this race, having worked six times over the Fair Grounds dirt course, and given trainer Bill Mott's success with horses returning after a layoff of more than six months.

"She came back from the layoff fine," said assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who oversees Mott's day-to-day operations at Fair Grounds. "We are trying to get her right for this race, then maybe go for some black type. After this race we should know better where we can go."

Also prepping for a return to stakes company is Aidan's Bella, whose connections are hoping to pad her resume with a stakes win and lifetime earnings of more than $100,000. A win or place effort in this race would send her over that mark.

Aidan's Bella last ran seventh, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in the Pago Hop, after a troubled trip that included traffic problems on the far turn.

These two have picked a tough spot to prep for their stakes, with several other horses in the field looking tough.

Gone Overboard, trained by Ralph Nicks, enters the race having won her last two. She has steadily climbed the allowance ladder.

Also dangerous is Best Mom, who ran fourth in an optional claiming race on Nov. 18 at Churchill. She was beaten only 1 3/4 lengths and could win with a repeat effort.

Carroll manages 3-year-old prospects

Horses keep forcing David Carroll to consider them as possible Kentucky Derby contenders. The latest to add himself to the list is Manager Boire, who won at first asking on Dec. 28 in a six-furlong maiden special weight. Manager Boire split foes while finishing 2 1/2 lengths in front in 1:11.01, paying $16.60 to win.

A 3-year-old son of Langfuhr, Manager Boire will be pointed next toward an allowance race.

"He won quite nicely," said Carroll. "We'll take it one step at a time and let him tell us."

The other known hopefuls in Carroll's barn are progressing according to plan. Blackberry Road, who is entered for the Jan. 12 Lecomte Stakes, worked on Dec. 31, going four furlongs in 49.80. Blackberry Road placed second in the Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov. 24 at Churchill.

Denis of Cork is being brought around more slowly. "We're hoping to get him back to the races soon," said Carroll. "We're giving him time to get acclimated, and he's got a lot of filling out to do."

Denis of Cork also worked Dec. 31, covering five furlongs in 1:02.40.

"We have to see if he'll go two turns," said Carroll. "The Derby's our goal, but that's at the beginning of May and we are only at the beginning of January."