01/03/2011 6:28PM

Fair Grounds: Day's lone grass race tells taxing tale

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Scrappy Roo just easily won the "featured" 8th, a race for $20K claimers or $10K starter-allowance horses. First grass race of a wet week, and fair to say that the course is playing a tad slow: Winning time for 9 furlongs was 1:55.23, a mere seven seconds off the track record. Scrappy Roo tracked pace while stretching out from seven furlongs on dirt for owner-trainer Steve Asmussen.

On a personal note, I was quite fond of Valid Message in this race, and deposited money specifically to bet him online. Valid Message has a nice late-running style that figured to be effective on the FG lawn now that he was dropping from stakes into a more suitable class level. As the last horse loaded I said to myself, "Just please don't let him be on the lead," not because that really seemed possible, but because I felt sure that the early leader in this spot would wind up being no more than a convenient target. The gate springs, V.M.'s jock shakes the reins a couple times, and voila -- I am mentally tearing up electronic tickets five seconds into the race.