03/19/2009 11:00PM

A.P. Answer relishes local grass

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NEW ORLEANS - For A.P. Answer and Greg Geier, the second time has been the charm. They have been back together for two races, won once, and look strong entering Sunday's feature race at Fair Grounds, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Geier trained A.P. Answer from July to October 2008. The horse raced five times during that span in Illinois, with nothing better than a fourth-place finish.

"He didn't have the best of luck up there," said Geier. "Plus he had a couple of them rained off the turf."

A.P. Answer and Geier parted ways in October when the horse was sent to trainer Chris Richard, but when Geier saw the now 4-year-old colt entered in a claiming race for $17,500 on Dec. 12, Geier claimed him and brought him back to his barn.

In the two races since they have been back together, A.P. Answer has finished third and first in first-level allowance races here. Geier attributes the improvement to A.P. Answer's fondness for the Fair Grounds turf, and possibly, some newfound maturity.

"He seems to like this turf course a whole lot," said Geier. "He might be growing up a little, and getting smarter."

A.P. Answer will need to step up again, as he tries the deeper waters of second-level allowance and $40,000 claiming company, where many of his seven competitors have been dwelling for much of the Fair Grounds meet.

A case in point would be Fifty Five, who has had four tries at this level during the Fair Grounds season - and a total of nine attempts since he won a first-level allowance here last year.

"It's about time for him to win," said trainer Walter Bindner. "He seems to run a great race, then runs a mediocre race. I think sometimes he's too laid back, and doesn't feel like running that day."

His last race was one of his best, as he came from off the pace to nearly get to the winner, House of Silver, who has looked like a special horse this season. Fifty Five's second-place finish came with blinkers on, and Bindner is hoping that he can repeat that effort.

"We put the blinkers on for that time to see if it would help him focus, and it worked that time," said Bindner. "We'll see if it works two races in a row."