Tizaqueena Tops Saturday's Lacombe Memorial 'Cap

Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena, heroine of the Grade II Distaff Turf Mile on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs last spring, will make her first start of the year when she heads a field of eight older fillies and mares in Saturday’s third running of the $60,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The middle distance affair, to be contested at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course, is named in honor of Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe – Fair Grounds’ revered long-time publicity director who died in 1989.

Trained by Mike Stidham, Tizaqueena won four straight races at Fair Grounds last season including a half-length tally in last year’s $60,000 Fortin Handicap to set her up perfectly for her tally under the Twin Spires. The daughter of Tiznow has been installed as the 8-5 morning line choice in the wagering and will shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds in the LaCombe Memorial, most of which will be made up by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.

Capable of providing competition for Tizaqueena is Lucas Downs’ Love to Tell, who captured the $50,000 Jersey Lily Stakes at Sam Houston Park in her last start Jan. 30. Last season the Mike Burgess trainee won Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Bayou Handicap in February after annexing the $59,000 Pago Hop at the beginning of the New Orleans season in December of 2008. Love to Tell is the 4-1 second choice in the morning line and second in the weights at 118 pounds with Shane Sellers in the saddle.

Another Mike Burgess trainee – Good Tyme Racing and Richard Ringo’s Dancin Perfect – is the third choice in the morning line at 5-1. The daughter of Pleasantly Perfect won her last start here in $62,000 optional claiming company Feb. 8 and was second by a head in this season’s Pago Hop. She gets in Saturday’s stakes with 117 pounds and Pat Valenzuela in the irons.

Completing the LaCombe Memorial field with jockeys, weights and odds is Charles Miller’s Final Refrain, Patrick Husbands, 117, (6-1); Virginia Tarra’s Apple Martini, James Graham, 115, (8-1); Phillip Maas’ A She’s Adorable, Brian Hernandez Jr., 114 (6-1); and  L T B Inc and Hillerich Racing’s More of the Best, Corey Lanerie,114, (10-1).