03/12/2009 11:00PM

Albarado's focus isn't on jockey standings


NEW ORLEANS - Entering the final three weekends of racing at Fair Grounds, Robby Albarado has opened a narrow lead in the jockey standings, leaving himself well-positioned to win his seventh riding title.

After riding three winners on Thursday, as second-place rider Jamie Theriot failed to win any, Albarado had 74 wins from 314 mounts, four more than Theriot, who won the title last year.

"It would be a big accomplishment to win," said Albarado. "But my focus is on riding the big and fast horses."

Albarado has risen to the top of the standings even after giving his fellow riders a three-week head start, as he finished the Churchill meet before coming to Fair Grounds.

In addition to the 10 days he missed at the start of the meet, Albarado has regularly taken off days to travel and ride horses in bigger races at other tracks.

With only seven days of racing remaining after derby weekend, Albarado is planning on being in town to ride on six of those cards. He will be absent next Saturday to ride Secret Gypsy in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.

A seventh riding crown would set a Fair Grounds record for a rider, but Albarado prefers not focus on the standings until the meet is over.

"I don't look at it until the last day of the meet," said Albarado. "I don't think about it because I don't want to let it affect the way I ride."

Roussel gets elusive first win

It was the appropriately named Recapturetheglory who brought Louie Roussel III back to the winner's circle at Fair Grounds, giving him his first win of the waning season.

Roussel's horses had been racing competitively, with 10 in-the-money finishes from 27 starts, but he hadn't won until Recapturetheglory completed his comeback from knee surgery with a win in a second-level allowance last Sunday.

Recapturetheglory was impressive, and the 2008 Illinois Derby winner may get one more shot here before the meet concludes.

"I'd like to run him one more time at the Fair Grounds, on the last weekend," said Roussel. "That will give him 20 days' rest, which is a little quicker than I would like, but I think he'll be ready."

Roussel plans to send Recapturetheglory to Arlington Park for the summer.

"He'll be based in Chicago, and he'll be shipped around all summer," said Roussel. "He'll probably run in the Hanshin, that's one of the goals."

The Grade 3 Hanshin will be run at Arlington on May 23.

Roussel won his second race of the meet Thursday when Grassy Nellie took a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles over the turf.

"We finally changed her running style," said Roussel. "We got her to stay closer. Instead of five or six lengths off a slow pace, she was three or four lengths off a good pace."

Roussel has Friends for Life entered Sunday in a $25,000 maiden claiming race going a mile on the turf. Friends for Life, a Roussel homebred, nearly won in his first attempt, getting nosed out in a $12,500 maiden claiming race going a mile on the dirt.

Orthodox gets shot at Lane's End

Trainer John Glenney's stakes success has generally come with older horses running long on the turf - think Transduction Gold and Kim Loves Bucky. But now Glenney and his wife, Kim, have a homebred 3-year-old named Orthodox who is having success. Orthodox campaigned at 2 in California, finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf after winning a turf maiden race at Santa Anita, and looked strong winning an entry-level turf allowance race Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds. Off that performance, Orthodox is likely to make his next start in the Lane's End Stakes next weekend at Turfway Park, Glenney said.

Orthodox is by Pulpit and out of a Strawberry Road mare, a pedigree that should lend flexibility in terms of surface preference. That, at least, is what Glenney is hoping in choosing the Lane's End on Polytrack rather than another turf race.

"He trained very well on synthetic tracks," Glenney said.

Pair of allowances Sunday

After an incredibly strong Louisiana Derby card Saturday, Fair Grounds features two first-level allowances on Sunday.

In the fifth race, for 3-year-olds going six furlongs, Lee City Slew returns after a disappointing effort in the Gentilly on Feb. 28. He had shown some promise three races ago when racing in the Louisiana Futurity as a maiden, finishing third after being unable to hold the lead. The other horse who appears to have a strong chance is Down the Road, who won a maiden special weight race last time out by 6 1/2 lengths.

In the seventh, carded at a mile for 4-year-olds and up, Hannas Agenda looks to clear this condition after coming up a nose short in his last start.

- additional reporting by Marcus Hersh