06/05/2009 12:00AM

Wildrally stands out on turf


BOSSIER CITY, La. - There is a mini turf festival of sorts at Louisiana Downs on Sunday as a pair of solid optional claiming events over the turf anchor the nine-race program.

Some of the conditions for the afternoon's second race, over 1 1/16 miles of turf, read "for those that have not won three races other than maiden, claiming, starter, or statebred." Wildrally, winner of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds last December over fellow Louisiana-breds, exploits that final condition and rates as the one to beat.

Now under the care of trainer Tim Ice, Wildrally returns to his home state after a couple of third-place finishes at Arlington Park and Presque Isle. The 5-year-old Wild Event gelding is no stranger to Louisiana Downs, having won twice here in just three starts with the third a near miss in the John Franks Memorial Stakes in May of last year. Ice has given the call on Sunday to veteran Pat Valenzuela.

Middleweight, a winner of 10 races and more than $430,000 in his career for trainer Al Stall Jr., also returns to the scene of some of his most memorable conquests. The 9-year-old has been entered for the accompanying $30,000 claiming price and comes off a solid second-place performance for a mid-level claiming price over the Keeneland Polytrack in his last start. Curt Bourque will handle the riding chores.

The eighth race on the program is for fillies and mares that have not won two races other than and also carries a $30,000 optional claiming option.

Category Seven, no worse than second in all five of her starts this year for trainer Ken Hargrave, puts that gaudy exacta record on the line in the 7 1/2-furlong race. The 4-year-old daughter of Gulf Storm finished with a rush to win her last race while in optional claiming company at Lone Star Park in early May. She also won twice in conditioned claiming company at Fair Grounds earlier in the year. Richard Eramia has the call.

Suzy Zip, another late-running sort, comes off a second-place performance under similar conditions here on opening weekend in mid-May. The Pat Mouton charge loves the local turf course, with 3 wins from 5 previous appearances. E.J. Perrodin will once again be in the saddle.