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Brisnet Handicappers Edge Fair Grounds notes 1/15/10

Fair Grounds will host a pair of $60,000, 5 1/2-furlong sprints for state-breds on Saturday. In the John E. Jackson Jr. Memorial S., LEE CITY SLEW (Leestown) and POWER SURGE (Holzmeister), the respective second- and third-place finishers in the recent Louisiana Champions Day Sprint S., are top contenders in the seven-horse field. Defending champion MR. PORTER (Road Rush) is also entered. Eight distaffers will contest the Happy Ticket S., and Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint S. runner-up CAJUN CONFERENCE (Gold Tribute), who owns a 3-2-1-0 over the New Orleans oval, will merit serious respect. Other challengers include SAX APPEAL (Successful Appeal) and YARE (Time Bandit)...

On the Louisiana worktab

Multiple Grade 3 king SILVERFOOT (With Approval), off-the-board when last seen in the September 7 Stars and Stripes Turf H. (G3), covered a half-mile in :52 2/5 over Fair Grounds' fast main track on Thursday.

Grade 3 victor CORAGIL CAT (Forest Wildcat), unplaced in the Tenacious S. most recently, traveled five-eighths in 1:05 1/5.

Grade 3 winner CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE (War Chant), just 3 3/4 lengths back in seventh in the Nearctic S. (Can-G2) last out, breezed four furlongs in :50 3/5.

Undefeated ELUSIVE BLUFF (Elusive Quality), unraced since taking the 2008 Pilgrim S. (G3), breezed five furlongs in 1:03 2/5.

Multiple Grade 3-placed stakes victress UNFORGOTTEN (Northern Afleet), runner-up in the Daily Racing Form Distaff S. most recently, worked four furlongs in :52 4/5.

Sugar Bowl S. winner COOL BULLET (Red Bullet), a 6 1/4-length maiden hero prior to his stakes score, logged three-quarters in 1:16. The Steve Margolis trainee is gearing up for his two-turn bow in the January 23 Lecomte S. (G3).

Minstrel S. hero VITO FILITTO (Mutakddim), second in the Old Hickory S. two back, logged a half-mile in :49 4/5.

Multiple stakes scorer CITIZEN (City Zip), whose dam brought the session-topping price at the Keeneland sale on Wednesday, worked five furlongs in 1:03.

FAIR GROUNDS NOTEBOOK

JANUARY 15, 2010

by Frank Cotolo

The four-program week started on Friday and concluded on Monday, featuring 39 races. All of the races were on the main course, with 10 fewer races than the week before, and the favorites' win rate soared to 41 percent. Second and third choices, some by only pennies, also won races. Perhaps the only answer for the success of 16 favorites in 39 races is that there were strong horses in good racing fields.

Surface Report

On Friday, speed was an asset in sprint races at 5 1/2 and six furlongs, with only one deep closer finding the winner's circle. Two of the three routes at 1 1/16 miles were won on the top from gate to finish.

Speed continued to perform well from there on; half of Saturday's races delivered wire-to-wire wins in sprints and routes, and only one of 11 races was won by a stalker.

All told, 46 percent of all winners got home first using front speed.

Careful inspection of horses with speed losing because of inner-race dueling further supports the fact that on a "fast" track it was good to find lone speed and trust that the speed will carry. Even minor challenges should not discourage lone speed.

This is good news if it continues to be the case on the main track. It gives a great advantage to some kinds of horses that the public dismisses, including horses coming off of a win and stepping up. However, the bias is subject to change when racing resumes on Friday.

Trainers

Steve Asmussen is the leading trainer at press time in earnings and his runners' performances over the four days of racing helped his overall figures. Team Asmussen won seven events, five more than any other trainer.

Doubling over the four days were Michelle Lovell, Wesley Hawley, Angel Montano, Michael Stidham, Greg Foley and Par Mouton, who had the only first-time starter win of the week.

Stakes

This Saturday, Fair Grounds will present another pair of state-bred events, each worth $60,000 and each at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track. The Happy Ticket S., named for one of the greatest Louisiana-breds of all time, is for fillies and mares three-years-old and up, while the John E. Jackson Jr. Memorial S. hosts four-year-olds and up.

HORSES TO WATCH

Friday (1/8)

2ND -- NOB HILL BANDIT (Oro Bandito) led to the half, dueled and then faded to third at 18-1 with a smooth inside trip.

5TH -- SWEET BAYOU (Storm Day) was burned early in a duel by the half and still held second well.

9TH -- PURE GOLDEN HONEY (Quest) was all out, dueling twice along the way and getting the lead before being overtaken at 9-1.

Saturday (1/9)

2ND -- LODE OF GOLD (Mutakddim) makes the list again even though we give our Watch horses two tries before crossing them off the list. Though he failed to break his maiden here, he was claimed for Gary Scherer off a solid third-place effort. The new connections must be noted as a plus.

5TH -- MOYER'S POND (Monarchos) races like his sire, sharply from behind, as in this event. He was also claimed with promise and goes to the barn of Dan Smithwick.

Sunday (1/10)

1ST -- SUNSHINE SUZIE (Seattle Sleet) won at first crack going 5 1/2 panels at 19-1, rolling to a 3 1/2-length decision. She looms as definite bet-back prospect.

4TH -- DEEP CANYON (Chester House) had a lot of trouble along the way but put a winning motion in gear late enough to make the race memorable.

Monday (1/11)

4TH -- ADHSILVER (Adhocracy) was not in the mood for racing while looking good on paper. Being claimed by Tom Amoss should be a wake-up call for her to come back strongly.

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