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Sugar Bowl Stakes Sets Stage for Sophomore Series

The Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds is for 2-year-olds, but less than a month later those juveniles become sophomores, and if the sprinters of December become horses that can go longer distances as 3-year-olds, the Sugar Bowl can preview candidates for the Grade III Lecomte in January, the Grade II Risen Star in February and the Grade II Louisiana Derby in March.

One of the best examples so far, of course, was J. R. Straus’s No Le Hace, trained by the late Homer Pardue, who won the Sugar Bowl Stakes of 1971 on New Year’s Eve and captured the 1972 Louisiana Derby 10 weeks later.

More recently, Teuflesberg, owned by Jeff Singer, Jamie Sanders, Donnie Kelly and Gary Logsdon and trained by Sanders, captured the Sugar Bowl in 2006 and went on to run third in the 2007 Lecomte, won Oaklawn’s $250,000 Southwest Stakes and finished third in that Arkansas oval’s Grade III Rebel, and then was fourth – beaten a neck for all the money – in Keeneland’s Grade I Blue Grass later that spring.

On Santa Super Saturday at Fair Grounds, Winmore LLC’s Cool Bullet was the hero of the Sugar Bowl, and winning trainer Steve Margolis was asked about that son of Preakness winner Red Bullet’s prospects for the future on Sunday morning during training hours.

“I talked to the partners about that this morning,” said the red-hot Margolis, who had saddled nine winners at Fair Grounds with 18 in-the-money finishers from 23 starters at the time. “He came out of the race in good order, and if he continues to do well, we might be looking to try him next in the Lecomte (Jan. 23 at a mile and 40 yards.) You never know (if they’ll go long) until you try.”

Cool Bullet easily won a $50,000 maiden claiming race here by six lengths on Nov. 14 before barely hanging on by a head at that same distance in the Sugar Bowl, but Margolis didn’t seem to think that was a case of not being able to get a distance of ground.

“First of all, he’s not built like a sprinter,” Margolis said, “and he won that maiden $50,000 very easily after being off since last summer at Delaware. Of course, he had to run a lot harder yesterday – those were better horses he ran against – but when that other horse came to him in the late stages, he showed enough courage to dig in again and hang on for the win.

“We were very happy with his performance yesterday, Margolis said, “and he got a good number in the race.  

“I thought our filly ran well, too,” Margolis concluded of Visavis’s second-by-a-nose finish in the $60,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes. “She came up a little short yesterday, but I think eventually we’ll try two turns with her as well. All in all, yesterday was a big day for us.”

Desert Wheat Doing Well After Louisiana Champions Day Turf Win
Mike Kaetzel, Fair Grounds-based assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, has supervised the care of 2009 Louisiana Champions Day Turf winner Desert Wheat, owned by Wachtel Stables, Brous Stables and Jerry D. Lee, since the beginning of the season, but took a brief vacation to Jamaica a short time ago and didn’t return in time to see Desert Wheat’s win Saturday. However, he was back on duty Sunday morning.

“I didn’t see the race yesterday so I can’t tell you too much, but I can tell you he came out of it well and is doing well this morning,” Kaetzel said Sunday. “However, I’m told he ran just as hard as he always does.”

Desert Wheat also won the Louisiana Champions Day Turf three years ago, ran fourth in 2007, and was second beaten a neck in last year’s renewal.

“I suppose the ($60,000) Dixie Poker Ace (at about one-mile on the grass January 9) would be next for him,” added Kaetzel. “That’s what we did last year.”

Star Guitar Stays Tuned After Classic Show
All was well with Star Guitar and his “Band on the Run” Sunday morning at Fair Grounds, one day after the Brittlyn Stable color bearer won the Louisiana Champions Day Classic to become the fourth horse in history to win three Louisiana Champions Day races in his career.

The “Band on the Run,” consisting of trainer Al Stall Jr., assistant Pam Fitzgerald, jockey Curt Bourque, as well as other members of the crew, are scheduled to take their show on the road next to Vinton, Louisiana, where the group headed by Star Guitar will take to the stage during Delta’s Louisiana Premier Night Championship Feb. 6.

“That’s Super Bowl Sunday,” noted Stall, “I guess we’ll be at Delta instead of Miami. Actually, we took a bus over there (to Delta Downs) last year and the whole trip turned out to be a lot of fun. For awhile there, I thought I was back in the Deke House at LSU.”