Graded stakes winner Runway Model will make her seasonal debut Saturday when she breaks from post six in the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), going 1 1/16 miles at the New Orleans oval. Runway Model, trained by Bernie Flint for Naveed Chowhan, hasn't raced since winning the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) last November at Churchill Downs, but has been training forwardly at Oaklawn Park.The daughter of Petionville out of the Houston mare Ticket to Houston, enters the Fair Grounds Oaks with a lofty reputation after winning the Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) at Keeneland and finishing third, despite a troubled trip, behind divisional leader Sweet Catomine in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Jockey Rafael Bejarano is reunited with Runway Model for the Fair Grounds Oaks.A win in the Fair Grounds Oaks might not be as easy as a strut down the catwalk for Runway Model who will face a stiff challenge from the ever-improving Summerly. The Steve Asmussen-trainee has crushed her rivals in a pair of local efforts, beginning with a 9 3/4-length walkover in an entry-level allowance race in her seasonal debut in January. She returned last month to capture the 1 1/16-mile Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) by a comfortable 3 1/4 lengths in a performance that was nearly a full second faster (1:43.79) than the boys ran in the Risen Star Stakes at the same distance. Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Summerly will be ridden by Jerry Bailey.
While Runway Model and Summerly will attract a lot of attention, the Al Stall Jr.-trained Enduring Will should not be overlooked. A daughter of Arch, Enduring Will finished third in the Silverbulletday Stakes and was second in the Tiffany Lass Stakes, both over the Fair Grounds surface. The field for Saturday's $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) includes: 1--Soul Search (Robby Albarado, 121) 2--Summerly (Jerry Bailey, 121) 3--Enduring Will (John Velazquez, 121) 4--Carela (Eibar Coa, 121) 5--Eyes on Eddy (Ramon Dominguez, 121) 6-- Runway Model (Rafael Bejarano, 121)