10/01/2009 11:00PM

Bourques enjoy their rivalrly


Jockey Curt Bourque and his son David have had the rare opportunity to ride against each other on a regular basis this past month at Louisiana Downs and will be sad to see the meet close Sunday. When it does, Curt will head to New Orleans to prepare for the opening of Fair Grounds, and David will go to Delta Downs to set up shop for the winter-spring meet in Vinton, La.

"We're trying to make the most of our last few days here," Curt said Friday.

David moved his tack to Bossier City, La., following the close of the Evangeline Downs meet Sept. 7. It gave him the opportunity to compete against his father, who ranks fifth in the standings at Louisiana Downs. In the past, the two had ridden against each on just a few occasions. But with the chance to compete on a regular basis, the father and son have developed a fun rivalry.

"I told him just because you're my son, I'm not going to open the rail and let you through," joked Curt, 42.

"He's my dad, and I'm going to love him no matter what, but when those gates open I'm there to win," said David, 20.

Even though the Bourques are both based in Louisiana, their professional paths have not crossed often. David had spent some time riding in New York shortly after he launched his career in 2006. He also was based for a meet at Hawthorne Race Course and later decided to take a break from race riding for about six months to gallop horses for trainer Neil Howard in Kentucky. David returned to competition this spring at Evangeline Downs.

"I think he's naturally talented," Curt said. "He's got a good set of hands, he can get horses to settle for him. And he knows how to talk to people. He has a good personality. A lot of guys have to work on those skills, work on that balance. For him, everything has come naturally."

David said he knew early on that he wanted to be a jockey from following his father's career. Curt is a winner of 3,452 races and more than $44 million in purses. Among his top mounts were Polar Expedition, with whom he won the Grade 2 Jim Beam and Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity; Meafara, the future Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up with whom he won the Cleopatra at Arlington Park; and My Pal Charlie, with whom he won last year's Grade 2 Super Derby.

"I always wanted to ride," David said. "I figured it's in my genes."

David added that aside from his father, his grandparents, D.L. and Karen Ellyson, also encouraged him on his road to a riding career. This winter, it looks like David might be sitting on a breakout meet at Delta. He has spent the past few weeks traveling back and fourth to south Louisiana to work horses for such high-percentage trainers as Keith Bourgeois, Sam Breaux, Brett Brinkman, Bob Young, and Troy Young.

Curt, too, has a lot to look forward to in the months to come as he rides arguably the top older male Louisiana-bred in training, Star Guitar. He also will be reunited at Fair Grounds with agent David Heitzmann, who represented Curt when he won the New Orleans title in 1996-1997. But first, Curt plans on enjoying riding a few more races against his son.

Yearlings average $8K at sale

The Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana closed out its two-day auction in West Monroe on Tuesday and reported that 237 yearlings sold for receipts of $1,952,200. There were 149 horses that did not sell. The average was $8,237.

Last year during a one-day auction, 171 yearlings sold for $2,086,300, for an average of $12,201.

The sale was expanded to two days this year because of an influx of horses. The auction was topped by a pair of yearlings who brought $55,000 each on Monday: Tensas Idea, a filly who is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Tensas Yucatan, and Main Mann Lee, a colt.

The session-topper on Tuesday was Peek a Blue Too, a full brother to stakes winner Fass Feat. He brought $40,000 from Philip Henderson and was consigned by Clear Creek Stud, agent.

The Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana will conduct a mixed sale at Serenity Farm in Folsom on Oct. 17.

* Wings of Joy will be seeking her third consecutive win at the meet Sunday in the featured eighth race, a $12,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at a mile on turf. Curt Bourque has the mount on Wings of Joy, a 3-year-old daughter of Aldebaran trained by Al Stall Jr. The chief threat could be St. Tribute.