09/22/2008 11:00PM

Abbott Hall looking like BC material

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - In the six stakes run last Saturday at Louisiana Downs as part of the Super Derby Day program, no winner was more dominant than Abbott Hall. She powered to a six-length score in the $150,000 Happy Ticket for 2-year-olds fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and she could make her next start in a stakes at Keeneland, her trainer, Hal Wiggins, said Tuesday.

Wiggins said Abbott Hall will be considered for the $150,000 Jessamine, run under the same conditions as the Happy Ticket. The race is at Keeneland on Oct. 9, and if she goes it could serve as her springboard to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

"We've kind of got the Breeders' Cup in the back of our mind," said Wiggins.

But he said the first order of business is a possible start in the Jessamine. Abbott Hall is based in Kentucky, at Churchill Downs. She made her two-turn and turf debut at Ellis Park in August, and won a maiden special weight by 6 1/4 lengths. Wiggins said the race was an opportunity to try two turns, and in the process she showed a preference for turf.

"We knew she wanted to go on out," he said. "We had no idea if she would like the grass or not."

Following the win, Wiggins and Dolphus Morrison, who owns and bred Abbott Hall, targeted the Happy Ticket. She stalked the pace early and was strong through the stretch to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 78. The trip to Louisiana Downs was a bit of a homecoming for Abbott Hall, Wiggins said, as her early training came at Diamond D Ranch in Texas.

"She was almost back home," he said.

Abbott Hall is a daughter of El Corredor and the stakes-winning mare Miss Abbott.

Super Derby team in Thursday feature

Trainer Al Stall Jr. and jockey Curt Bourque, who won the Grade 2, $515,000 Super Derby on Saturday, will team with comebacking stakes winner Star Guitar in the featured ninth race Thursday. The second-level allowance at six furlongs is for 3-year-olds and up bred in Louisiana.

Star Guitar is undefeated in two starts, both under Bourque. The horse won his debut at Fair Grounds last November, then returned to take the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile in December over Cubera, who returned in his next start to win the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity.

Star Guitar, who is a half-brother to stakes winner Grand Minit, has been working at Louisiana Downs for his return. The chief threat to him appears to be the Bret Calhoun-trained Karakorum Lodge, who in his last start was a close second in a second-level allowance here Aug. 31.

Bourque is now riding at Louisiana Downs on a regular basis following the close of the Evangeline Downs meet late last month. His first week here was a big one, as he guided My Pal Charlie to a 4 1/4-length win in the Super Derby. The two tracked the pace from the inside, darted through a seam approaching the quarter pole, and barreled home.

"The hole opened up just enough for my horse to get his shoulder in there, and when he got his shoulder in there, he was home free," said Bourque. "I moved my hands and he was gone.

"He ran a bang-up race."

Stall, a longtime patron of Bourque's, phoned the jockey about riding My Pal Charlie on Sept. 15, just as Bourque was returning from a week's vacation in St. Thomas.

"When I got back it was 7 in the morning," Bourque said. "I'm driving home from New Orleans, from the airport, and I got a phone call from Al to see if I was available."

For Bourque, it was an ideal way to start his time at Louisiana Downs. He said the Super Derby win ranks as one of his top career victories. Other horses of note he has ridden include Polar Expedition, with whom he won the Grade 2 Jim Beam, Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity, and the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Bourque, 41, is a native of Erath, La., and after the meet closes on Oct. 18 he will be based at Fair Grounds. He launched his career in 1984, and said the Super Derby win was especially meaningful because it happened in his home state of Louisiana.

"It was great," he said. "It was a home crowd."

Bourque had won 3,398 career races through Tuesday.

* Jockey Patrick Valenzuela was two wins from career victory 4,000 heading into the races Thursday.