Updated on 09/17/2011 9:58PM

Badge of Silver's homecoming

Badge of Silver, now in Bobby Frankel's barn, returns to his favorite track for the New Orleans Handicap.

NEW ORLEANS - A returning hero of past Fair Grounds campaigns and an up-and-coming star will clash Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Badge of Silver became an overnight sensation here in 2003 when he won the Risen Star by 10 lengths while still undefeated.

Wanderin Boy took a similar leap into the limelight last month in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap, leading all the way to win his third race in four lifetime starts.

started as the favorite in the 2003 Louisiana Derby, won by Peace Rules. In that race, Badge of Silver reached contention turning for home, then stopped cold because of what was discovered to be a flipped palate. After his return to training, Badge of Silver sustained a hairline fracture of his left front cannon bone, knocking him out for the season. He returned last year at Fair Grounds to win impressively in his comeback, but failed as the favorite in his subsequent start and was sidelined with foot injuries.

A switch to Bobby Frankel's barn has produced dramatic results - a good second last fall in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile followed by a score in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park in January. Now the 5-year-old Badge of Silver returns to his favorite track. He will carry 118 pounds, including Jerry Bailey.

His assignment is not an easy one. Wanderin Boy, weighted at 115, was impressive in the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft, and looked like an extra sixteenth would not faze him.

"Wanderin Boy is kind of an exceptional horse to do what he's done," said trainer Nick Zito.

On Saturday, he will have to contend with the speedy Musique Toujours. Will Zito ask jockey Larry Melancon to step on the gas?

"We'll see," said Zito. "Every race is different. Larry is an old pro around that area. He knows what to do."

A one-time claimer, Musique Toujours is coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream. Musique Toujours was being pointed to the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5 when he sustained a quarter crack and had to pass the race.

Pollard's Vision, the highweight at 120, was making his first start of the season in the Mineshaft when he finished second to Wanderin Boy. Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for Pollard's Vision to move up off that effort.

"I think he will be a better horse than he was in the prep," said Pletcher. "We didn't go too heavily on him before that race."

Pletcher is also bringing in multiple graded stakes winner Limehouse, who looks ready for a big effort in his third start off a layoff.

Mineshaft third-place finisher Alumni Hall is another legitimate contender.

"He's doing real well," said trainer Neil Howard. "We've been looking for the mile and an eighth with him. He's going to have to bring his 'A' game."

Dallas Stewart was leaning against running Colonial Colony (116) in this race last week, but the horse worked well enough to earn a shot.

"He ran badly [in the Mineshaft] but I don't know why," said Stewart. "I can't find a reason not to run him."

Second of June and Freefourinternet are both multiple graded stakes winner in the third race of their form cycles.

The field

New Orleans Handicap
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 2

1Colonial ColonyR. Bejarano11615-1
2FreefourinternetB. Blanc11515-1
3LimehouseR. Dominguez1158-1
4Badge of SilverJ. Bailey1182-1
5Musique ToujoursG. Stevens11510-1
6Second of JuneE. Coa11510-1
7Pollard's VisionJ. Velazquez1207-2
8Wanderin BoyL. Melancon1159-2
9Alumni HallR. Albarado1168-1

* Odds are track's morning line