02/05/2002 1:00AM

Your guess as good as Stidham's


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Mike Stidham wasn't in the mood for predictions Tuesday morning. He doesn't know for sure if Miss N Texas will run as well around two turns as she has around one.

But he knows this: He has to try it and find out.

As Fair Grounds and the rest of the country cranks up for the spring racing season, major stakes opportunities for 3-year-olds both male and female are visible on the horizon. And when a 3-year-old filly has shown as much ability as Miss N Texas has in her two starts here this winter, she automatically gets a shot at being a route horse.

Miss N Texas, owned by Stidham's longtime client, Greg Goodman's Mt. Brilliant Stable, launched her career Dec. 23 with a loss that turned heads. Slow out of the gate, Miss N Texas galloped along near the back of the pack around the far turn but closed with a furious rally and missed catching the heavy favorite, Radcliffe Yard, by a neck.

There was no missing three weeks later. More forwardly placed under jockey Corey Lanerie than she had been in her debut, Miss N Texas went from fifth to first in a matter of a few strides when Lanerie let her run coming off the turn, and she toyed with a full field in the stretch, winning by nearly five lengths without ever being set down by her rider.

On the basis of her talent and relaxed demeanor, Miss N Texas is a prospect for races like the Fair Grounds Oaks later this meet. But the question is stamina. Miss N Texas is by Dehere, whose 3-year-old son Easyfromthegitgo won the one-mile Lecomte Stakes here last month but whose progeny are not generally long-winded. And Miss N Texas's physical type does not strike Stidham as purely route.

Lying in wait is Tomokas Outrageous, whose profile sits on the other side of the spectrum. Ineffective in her sprint debut, Tomokas Outrageous, a beautiful bay Out of Place filly with a long stride, stretched out to two turns Jan. 14 and won her maiden by eight lengths, drawing away in the stretch despite racing greenly on a sloppy track. Al Stall, who trains Tomokas Outrageous for Tomokas Hills Farm, has given the filly a lone half-mile breeze since her maiden win and has named jockey Curt Bourque to ride.

Wicked Cool, from the Tom Amoss barn, rates a notch below the top pair off a maiden win and a third-place finish on turf in her last start. A win by any of the other five entrants would be an upset.

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