01/02/2007 1:00AM

Two turns next for Total


There were several candidates for the Jan. 13 Tiffany Lass out breezing last weekend in New Orleans, but the best 3-year-old filly seen so far at Fair Grounds, Total, won't be in the Tiffany Lass, having just raced Monday in the Letellier Memorial Stakes. Total made short work of her rivals there, just as she had in her other two races since finishing second in her Saratoga debut. She won Monday by 6o3/4 lengths, and the margin could have been greater.

"She was out there twitching her ears, swapping her leads, idling really," said trainer Al Stall.

And still, Total ran six furlongs in 1:10.05 on a track that wasn't playing especially fast. A race earlier, a nice enough 3-year-old colt named Felonious Monk had run the same distance in 1:10.72. Jockey Jesse Campbell told Stall it felt like Total had given him an opening quarter-mile in 23 seconds; the fraction, with Total sitting less about length off the pace, was 21 seconds and change.

Total already looks like a crack sprinter. Her next test will come around two turns, in the Feb. 10 Silverbulletday Stakes, and the way Total appears to relax while still running fast suggests she will make the transition to route racing.

"I'm not saying she's a mile and a quarter horse or anything, but if she can take it around two turns for a little ways, she'll beat somebody," Stall said.

Total was bred and is owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. She's a daughter of Forest Wildcat and the mare Limit, who won the Busanda Stakes over a route of ground. Limit traces directly to the mare Special, who produced the famous stallion Nureyev.

"She's got a nice pedigree, Claiborne family and all," Stall said. "They were hoping this mare would hit with something."

Stall has trained plenty of hot-blooded fillies, and Total is not one of them. Her last workout before Monday's race was a half-mile in a pedestrian 51.20 seconds, and that with a workmate to keep her occupied.

"She's easy, very easy, thank goodness," Stall said. "Anyone can get on her, gallop her. When she works, she doesn't knock your socks off. I worked her by herself at [Saratoga's] Oklahoma training track - she'd go a half in 55."

Caesars March impressive in debut

Makeithapencaptain, a leading candidate for the Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 10 with blowout wins in his last two races in Chicago, turned in a mile workout last Friday at Fair Grounds. The next day, his trainer, Bret Calhoun, sent out a debut winner who looked as fast as Makeithapencaptain - Ceasers March, who is a Louisiana-bred.

Very few Louisiana-breds, however, cost $150,000 at auction, but that's the price owners Mark Cornett and Bobby Beck paid for the colt at a Texas 2-year-old in training sale last March. Ceasers March had been working bullets for his debut, and he ran to those works, scoring by 9 3/4 lengths as the heavy favorite in a six-furlong Louisiana-bred maiden race. Ceasers March ran six furlongs on a slowish, sloppy track in 1:11.60, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 89 - already stakes class for Louisiana-bred competition.

"He really is a nice horse," said Calhoun. "The owners were getting a little nervous I was working him too fast, but everything he's done in the morning has been extremely impressive. He was never asked for much."

Ceasers March was trained by Cole Norman through the summer, going through "minor, nagging 2-year-old baby stuff" that kept him from making the races, Calhoun said. "With Cole going to Oaklawn, they didn't want to ship and run, so they sent him to me," Calhoun explained.

Calhoun said he would prefer to wait four to six weeks before running Ceasers March in another race. Obviously speedy, Ceasers March also has some scope, and Calhoun said he believes the colt will stretch out to two turns.

Makeithapencaptain, meanwhile, is scheduled to work again Thursday, weather permitting.

Patriot Act set for a good one

Rain basically ruined the Fair Grounds stakes schedule last week, with Saturday's Woodchopper Handicap - which had been an interesting turf race - scratching down to a four-horse field when it was taken off the turf. Sunday's Furl Sail Handicap lost six horses when it was taken off turf. Dash of Humor scored a come-from-behind win in the Furl Sail for trainer Hal Wiggins; the Josie Carroll-trained Good and Lucky led all the way winning the Woodchopper.

Fair Grounds was off turf on four of five racing days last week, and more rain is forecast to hit the area just in time for Thursday's card. But at least this Saturday's stakes, the Louisiana Breeders' Cup, is scheduled for dirt - a good thing, since the race drew only six horses, and could not take a slew of scratches.

Jonesboro looked good last month winning a Delta Downs stakes race, and Sandburr comes off a win in a Texas-bred stakes at Sam Houston, but the likely favorite in the Louisiana Breeders' Cup is Patriot Act, who was a tough-luck neck loser in the Dec. 2 Tenacious Handicap.

"He's been right on schedule since then, no interruptions," said trainer Neil Howard. "He's where I want him."

Howard, however, has lost one of his top young prospects to injury. Grasshopper, a 3-year-old colt who impressively won a two-turn Churchill Downs maiden race in his most recent start, is out until later in the year after sustaining a small fracture to his tibia.

Howard said the injury was expected to heal in about 60 days.

"Nothing serious - just bad timing on his part," he said.