11/19/2009 12:00AM

Youngest fillies look superior


Experience means something in racehorses, for sure, but the slogan Saturday at Fair Grounds might as well be "older, wiser, and slower." Give an edge to the 3-year-old fillies in the Saturday feature in New Orleans.

Mommie Whiz is one of several talented 3-year-olds entered in a third-level optional $62,500 claimer for fillies and mares, carded for 5 1/2 furlongs on grass. The race could well wind up on dirt, with rain forecast for New Orleans on Saturday.

Mommie Whiz, who makes her first start for trainer Malcolm Pierce, had a productive Woodbine meet this year, but actually had her turf debut last March at Fair Grounds, winning a maiden sprint by more than two lengths. At Woodbine over the summer, while still racing for trainer Steve Asmussen, she cleared her first two allowance conditions in grass sprints, and finished a closing third in the Grade 3 Royal North, beaten just a neck by Canadian Ballet, one of the better female grass sprinters on the East Coast this year.

But Mommie Whiz looks far from a shoo-in Saturday. Dashel has won 3 of her 4 starts, and is 2 for 2 in turf sprints. An Illinois-bred owned by Team Block, and moved for the winter from trainer Chris Block to trainer Neil Pessin, Dashel jumped from a Polytrack loss against Illinois-bred entry-level allowance foes at Arlington to a win over open allowance horses in her turf debut Sept. 24. Validating that performance, she beat a strong group of open 3-year-old turf-sprint allowance horses Oct. 22 at Keeneland, making a sustained move behind a fast pace. That's the sort of style that wins races at Fair Grounds, too, and Dashel might give Mommie Whiz all she can handle.

Another 3-year-old, Seeking Ms Shelley, won her career debut almost one year ago at Fair Grounds, beating $25,000 maiden claimers. She won and twice finished second turf-sprinting over the summer at Louisiana Downs, and scored by 11 lengths there Sept. 24 in a race rained off grass. A move to the main track Saturday probably would only enhance her standing.

Northern Belle, 3, makes her grass debut for trainer Steve Margolis, who said Tuesday that he likes her chances of handling the surface switch. The 3-year-old Skipping Town, drawn poorly on the far outside, has won her two grass races by open lengths.