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Desert Wheat Strong Choice in Saturday's Dixie Poker Ace
Desert Wheat, the 7-year-old Louisiana-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and owned by Wachtel Stables, Brous Stables and Jerry Lee, has been installed as the 7-5 morning line choice in Saturday’s Fair Grounds feature – the 30th running of the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds at about one mile over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
In his last trip to the post Dec. 19, Desert Wheat won his second $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf scoring by four lengths three years after his initial tally in that test. In last year’s Dixie Poker Ace, Desert Wheat finished fourth after winning that race in 2007. The son of Wheaton has also posed in the winner’s circle in the last two renewals of Fair Grounds’ Mr. Sulu Stakes.
However, Desert Wheat must shoulder the top impost of 122 pounds in Saturday’s Dixie Poker Ace Stakes, most of which will be made up by jockey Corey Lanerie, currently second in Fair Grounds’ jockey standings.
Valene Farms’ Ide Like a Double, second choice at 7-2 in the Dixie Poker Ace morning line, gets in light with 116 pounds and may be the one to beat. The 5-year-old son of Ide was easily second in his last start in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Dec. 19 but was no match for the winning Star Guitar. Regular rider Kerwin Clark will be in irons once again.
From the rail out, the Dixie Poker Ace field, with weights and jockeys, consists of Hallway, 116, Shaun Bridgmohan; High Toned, 116, Robby Albarado; Nowandforevermore, 116, Shane Sellers; Lee’s Spirit, 116, Curt Bourque; Smoothcideup, 120, Pat Valenzuela; Willist, 116, John Jacinto; Snug, 116, Richard Eramia; Desert Wheat, 122, Corey Lanerie; and Ide Like a Double, 116, Kerwin Clark. Hallway and Snug are coupled in the wagering.
Smoothcideup, 5 ½ lengths the best in his last start here Dec. 20 and fifth in Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes Nov. 28, cannot be discounted here.