08/30/2007 11:00PM

Ain't He a Pistol shoots for No. 7


Ain't He a Pistol has responded so well to additional time between starts that he has not lost since March. Sunday, in the eighth race at Louisiana Downs, he will be seeking his seventh straight win when he moves from a $20,000 optional claimer back to a $5,000 starter allowance. It is a shrewd class drop, and the latest of several right moves that have been made with Ain't He a Pistol during a win streak that began in a $16,000 claiming race at Oaklawn Park on March 17.

"We've been spreading his races out, and he seems to like it," said Tom Howard, who trains Ain't He a Pistol for Lewis E. Matthews Jr.

Following the $16,000 claiming win, Ain't He a Pistol stepped up to win for a claiming price of $25,000, at Oaklawn. He then set up shop at Louisiana Downs, where he is 4 for 4 this meet, tied atop the standings for winningest horse with Theze, who is 4 for 5.

Ain't He a Pistol has won three $5,000 starter allowance races, as well as the optional claimer. His victories during his streak have come around one turn and two, all on dirt. Ain't He a Pistol will attempt to extend his streak on the turf course Sunday. The last time he ran on the grass he was second by a neck at this level in October 2006.

"The conditions fit us real good, and he's very versatile," said Howard. "I think we have a very, very good chance of doing some good."

Ain't He a Pistol will break from post 2 under Kirk LeBlanc.

"Normally, he likes to lay up pretty close," said Howard. "He'll be right off the pace. And he's not opposed to being on the pace. If it gets too slow, he'll tell them."

This will be the final Sunday program of the Louisiana Downs meet as the track is scheduled to add Wednesdays to its race week this month, starting on Sept. 12.

Dontbotherknocking retired

Dontbotherknocking, a 9-year-old gelding who has won the last two runnings of both the Louisiana Downs Breeders' Cup Handicap and the DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap, was recently retired, according to his trainer, Bernell Rhone. Dontbotherknocking last raced on July 4, finishing fourth as the favorite in a turf allowance at Canterbury Park.

"It wasn't anything physical," said Rhone. "He just didn't have the spark that he once had."

Rhone said Dontbotherknocking has been retired to the Lexington, Ky., farm of his owner, Frank Jedlicki. Overall, the gelding, by Farma Way, won 16 of 51 starts and $724,127. Rhone said that among his best races were the 2005 Louisiana Downs Handicap and last year's DeBartolo, at Remington Park.

Monday's $150,000 DeBartolo is the richest turf race of the Remington meet. A good-sized field is expected for the 1 1/8-mile race, said Fred Hutton, racing secretary at Remington. Among those expected are multiple stakes winners Therecomesatiger, the 121-pound highweight, and Waupaca, weighted at 119. Therecomesatiger will be ridden by Ramsey Zimmerman, said trainer Tom Proctor.

The DeBartolo shares a card with the $50,000 Ricks Memorial, which is set to draw Walklikeanegyptian and D Fine Okie, and the $50,000 Clever Trevor for 2-year-olds. Entries were to be drawn Saturday.

Breakout season for Eramia

Jockey Richard Eramia, a five-time leading rider in Uruguay who came to the United States in 2005, had a breakout meet this past spring at Lone Star Park. He ranked fifth in wins with 60, second in stakes victories with five, and was the meet's second-leading rider on turf. Eramia had 19 victories on the grass, with Cliff Berry leading all riders on the surface with 22.

"It was a very good meeting this year," said Eramia, 28.

Eramia's skills on turf will be on display Monday at Remington, where he ranks fifth in the standings. He is scheduled to ride contender Brego in the DeBartolo Memorial, and stakes winner Annie Savoy in the Ricks Memorial. During the Lone Star meet, one of Eramia's turf wins came aboard Alice Belle in the Lone Star Oaks for trainer John Locke.

"He's a real good turf rider," said Locke. "He's patient. Even though he's good away from the gate, he can also take a horse off the pace and be patient with them.

"He's a good all-around rider. He rides hard."

Eramia began his career in racing as a groom, and proceeded to gallop horses before launching his riding career 12 years ago. He is the lone member of his family in racing. Last year, Eramia won three stakes on Dream of Angels between Texas and Florida, which helped push his 2006 mount earnings to $1.7 million. He stood at $1.5 million for 2007 through Thursday.

Brego was an impressive allowance winner during the Lone Star meet for trainer Bruce Jackson. Annie Savoy comes into the Ricks off a runner-up finish in the $50,000 Adena Springs Turf Sprint at 32-1. The Ricks will be the two-turn debut for Annie Savoy, and her trainer, Kari Craddock, has had the race targeted for a while. Craddock won the Ricks, when it was called the Carris, in 1998 with Miss Diamond Mine, who is the dam of Annie Savoy. Eramia rode Annie Savoy for the first time in the Adena Springs.