07/22/2008 12:00AM

Big plans for Smokin Again, Zigaree


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Smokin Again and Zigaree both turned in eye-catching wins in the 2-year-old turf stakes run last Saturday at Louisiana Downs. The horses, both purchased at auction this past spring, were clear winners and earned career-best Beyer Speed Figures.

Smokin Again picked up her second win from three starts in the $50,000 Princess, where she covered about five furlongs on turf in a quick 56.69 seconds. For the effort, she earned a Beyer Figure of 76.

"We think she's pretty nice," said Charlie Hukill, who trains Smokin Again for Sharon Pittman. "She just handled it real professional. She laid off the speed. That's the way she's run the last two times. She's a really smart filly. She does everything we ask of her."

Hukill said Smokin Again could make her next start in the $75,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial. The one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies is to be run at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 16. It is a prep for the $150,000 Happy Ticket Stakes on the Super Derby undercard here Sept. 20.

Pittman purchased Smokin Again for $50,000 out of the Fasig-Tipton select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course in February. She is a daughter of Smoke Glacken.

Zigaree remained undefeated in two starts with his last-to-first win in the $50,000 Minstrel. He covered about five furlongs on turf in 57.03 seconds, and earned a Beyer Figure of 71.

"Boy, he ate them up down the lane," said Brandon Marks, who trains Zigaree for Whispering Oaks Farm. "I tell you what, he really ran a good race. We'll see how he bounces back, and we'll get him pointed at something, maybe quite possibly the Lafayette Stakes at Evangeline."

The six-furlong, $100,000 race for 2-year-olds will be run Sept. 1.

Marks said he will also consider turf stakes at Louisiana Downs for Zigaree. The next race for his division locally is the $75,000 Sunny's Halo at a mile on turf Aug. 16. It is a prep for the $150,000 Sunday Silence here Sept. 20.

"It looks like he loves the grass," Marks said of Zigaree. "I can't wait to stretch him out. I think he'll be a lot better colt going a little further. I don't think five-eighths will be his cup of tea, but now, hey, it's working."

Zigaree, a son of Congaree based at the Evangeline Downs Training Center in Lafayette, won his debut in a five-furlong race at Evangeline on June 15. He was an $80,000 purchase at Barrett's in California in March.

Bum knee sidelines Valenzuela

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who is based at Louisiana Downs, has not ridden since July 11 because he injured his knee in a pickup game of basketball, according to his agent, Jerry Reites. He will be out of action indefinitely, Reites said Sunday.

Valenzuela is not named to ride at Louisiana Downs on Thursday or Friday. He is living here, but traveled to California last week for a hearing before an administrative law judge seeking reinstatement of his license to ride in California.

Valenzuela had a conditional license revoked by the California Horse Racing Board last December because of a DUI charge in Upland, Calif. He is in good standing in Louisiana, where last year he rode in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs.

Valenzuela did not immediately return a call on Tuesday.

Turf next for Steamy Ridge

Steamy Ridge, a two-time winner at the meet who finished seventh after contesting the pace in the $75,000 Hallowed Dreams Breeders' Cup at 6 1/2 furlongs last Saturday, came out of the race in good order, said her co-owner and trainer, Wes Hawley.

"She didn't run her race at all," said Hawley, adding that Steamy Ridge did not handle the 95-degree heat well on Saturday.

Hawley said plans are to move Steamy Ridge back to turf for her next start. It could come in the $50,000 Adena Springs Matchmaker Turf Sprint for fillies and mares at five furlongs on turf at Remington Park on Aug. 23. Steamy Ridge, who is a multiple winner on dirt, won back-to-back turf sprints earlier this meet at Louisiana Downs, including the $50,000 Beach Party.

"She is a little bit better on the grass, it looks like," said Hawley.

Hawley said a win in the Adena would put Steamy Ridge in play for the $200,000 Turf Amazon for fillies and mares at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 27.