Updated on 09/17/2011 10:07AM

Big day in New Orleans


Fastest-qualifier Mystical Reb leads the finalists in the Grade 2, $103,771 Mardi Gras Futurity on Thursday, when Quarter Horses make their annual futurity appearance at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Two days of trials were held, March 3 and March 4. The five fastest qualifiers from each day will race in the 300-yard finals for Louisiana-breds.

The track was fast on the first day of trials when Mystical Reb won his race in 16.119 seconds for the 300 yards, the top time from the four March 3 trials.

Mystical Reb, owned by Alexia Ramos and trained by Roy Roberts, won by a nose over Vals Fortune, who earned the second-fastest qualifying time of 16.120 seconds.

The track was listed as good on the second day when 18-1 outsider First Down Britt defeated odds-on favorite Nine Dancer by a nose in the second of four trials. First Down Britt was timed in 16.219 seconds, the quickest time on the second day of trials. Nine Dancers was given a 16.227-second time.

Vals Streak tries for stakes win

Vals Streak, second in last year's Mardi Gras Futurity, is after her first stakes win in the Grade 3, $44,910 Mardi Gras Derby on Friday afternoon at Fair Grounds.

Two trials, one March 3 and one March 4, were held for the Mardi Gras Derby, for Louisiana-breds, at 400 yards. The top six horses in each trial qualified for the 12-horse finals.

Vals Streak, owned by Richard Reaux and trained by Donald Rubin, easily won her March 4 trial when she defeated Fed Ex Together by one length in 20.372 seconds.

Last year, Vals Streak won 3 of 7 starts, including two futurity trials. Her second-place finish in the Mardi Gras Futurity was her sole stakes placing.

A Real Tornado won the March 3 trial for her second win from five starts and her first victory since winning her maiden on May 2 at Delta Downs. In her trial, she defeated Grade 3 Louisiana Breeders Laddie Futurity winner Heroes Effort by a neck.

Owned by the Schultz Ranch and trained by Heath Taylor, A Real Tornado was timed in 20.620 seconds for the 400 yards.

Granite Lake meets Jess Perfect

Fastest-qualifier Granite Lake meets Sunland Fall Futurity winner Jess Perfect in the Grade 2, $113,394 West Texas Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday afternoon.

Bob Hardy's Granite Lake is going for his third straight victory after setting the fastest qualifying time to the West Texas Derby in the third of three trials on March 7. He was timed in 19.313 seconds for the 400 yards, in a one-length win over fifth-fastest qualifier Sinfully Quick.

Granite Lake, trained by Ed Hardy, closed out his four-race 2-year-old season with an impressive three-length allowance win on Dec. 8.

Jess Perfect will be trying to rebound from a narrow loss to 16-1 longshot Barbs Strawfly in their trial. Barbs Strawfly has the second-fastest qualifying time, 19.427 seconds.