01/24/2009 12:00AM

Carroll, Risen Star lose a good one


NEW ORLEANS - The Grade 3 Risen Star here on Feb. 7 lost a little of its luster with the sale of Lecomte Stakes runner-up Patena to IEAH Stables this week. Patena will be leaving Josie Carroll's barn at the Fair Grounds for Rick Dutrow's barn at Gulfstream, where he will be pointed toward races in Florida.

Patena closed strongly behind Friesan Fire Jan. 10 in the one-mile Lecomte, and the extra sixteenth of a mile of the Risen Star would likely have benefitted him. With Patena out, Friesan Fire will likely be an overwhelming favorite in the Risen Star.

Carroll was philosophical about the departure of Patena, who is by Seeking the Gold and out of an A.P. Indy mare.

"He's a really nice horse with all kinds of potential," said Carroll. "He's got a great pedigree, and is progressing steadily."

The Risen Star is shaping up as a nine- or 10-horse race, and will include Giant Oak, who turned in a sharp six-furlong work Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Chris Block has remained in Chicago for the winter, but traveled to New Orleans to direct Giant Oak's work on Saturday.

Giant Oak and stablemate Brothers Nicholas worked in company, with Giant Oak covering the six furlongs in 1:14.20, with his last two furlongs in 24 seconds.

"He works better in company, it makes him a bit more competitive," said Block. "The work was what we were hoping for, because the competition made him hunker down the last eighth of a mile."

Giant Oak, an Illinois-bred son of Giant's Causeway, is coming off a second after a wide trip in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29. He was sent to New Orleans and trainer Neil Pessin after that race, with Block coming to town to orchestrate his major works.

Carroll has shot at Mineshaft

Carroll may have lost Patena, but she still has Good and Lucky pointing for the Grade 3 Mineshaft, also to be run Feb. 7. Good and Lucky won the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap here Jan. 10.

"Hopefully we'll do some damage there," said Carroll.

The Mineshaft is coming up exceptionally strong. Good and Lucky will be joined by the Neil Howard-trained Grasshopper, who is returning from a layoff. My Pal Charlie, Secret Getaway, and Honest Man are among the others expected in the race by stakes coordinator Scott Jones.

House of Silver did the near impossible on Friday, making an early lead stick in a route race over the Fair Grounds turf, which is known for favoring late-runners. House of Silver had finished a front-running second to Diamond Tycoon in his previous start at the meet, which came off a seven-month layoff.

House of Silver turned back a charge by Naturalyontherocks to win the first-level allowance for older horses by a half-length, and it was another seven lengths back to the third-place finisher, A.P. Answer.

Trainer Wally Dollase had hoped to have House of Silver sitting off the lead on Friday, but jockey Jesus Castanon took him to the front and set a modest pace.

"It's natural for him to go early," said Dollase. "I hoped to have him be second, but they were going slow enough he went to the lead."

Naturalyontherocks made up four lengths in the stretch, but House of Silver refused to let him get by.

"He did it easy, and afterward he was walking around like he owned the place, not tired at all," said Dollase.

Dollase is now considering either an allowance or small stakes for House of Silver.

"We haven't given it much thought," said Dollase. "We've just been enjoying his victory."

With the win, Dollase took his record at the meet to 4 wins from 14 starts.

* Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme was at the Fair Grounds on Saturday to watch his horse Training Room, a 56-1 longshot, win a statebred maiden claiming race. Trained by Jerry Delhomme, Jake's father, Training Room paid $114.20 to win.