12/29/2009 12:00AM

Cash Refund as fast as ever

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Cash Refund looked about the same winning a Fair Grounds optional claiming race on Sunday as he had in his previous start nearly seven months before - fast.

Making his first start after a long layoff necessitated by a nascent hairline fracture in his leg, Cash Refund won a second-level optional $40,000 claiming race by a half-length. The margin of victory hardly was dramatic, but Cash Refund was not prepared to show his best and not asked for his best while running six furlongs in 1:09.92, a fast time on a track producing modest clockings. Cash Refund was assigned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 for the performance.

"He was fit and ready to run, but it's not like he was cranked for that race," said trainer Steve Margolis.

Cash Refund, a 3-year-old Klein family homebred, now has won 3 of 4 career starts. He dominated maidens and entry-level allowance foes before finishing second by three-quarters of a length to top-class sprinter Capt. Candyman Can in the Matt Winn Stakes on May 16 at Churchill, his last start before the injury layoff.

Margolis said plans called for keeping Cash Refund in sprint stakes between six and seven furlongs in the foreseeable future. But while Cash Refund might not want to run all day, he is an easier horse with which to work in the morning than once was the case.

"He's really settled down since last year," Margolis said. "He was a little more rank last year. Now, if you want him to work easy, he'll work easy. He's not a run-off kind of horse."

Margolis and the Kleins haven't settled on a definitive next start for Cash Refund. Margolis pointed out that that the horse remains eligible for a third-level allowance race, but also mentioned sprint stakes at Fair Grounds or Oaklawn as a possibility.

Cash Refund's comeback meshes with the overall tenor of Margolis's ongoing Fair Grounds meet: All good. The Margolis stable has won with 10 of 28 starters, and has placed 22 in the top three so far this season.

"We came down here with 34 horses, a good group," Margolis said. "At Churchill, we struggled a little, and Keeneland I don't really concentrate on. So after Delaware, a lot of horses got a little break, and they're cycling back good."

A pair of 2-year-olds about to turn 3, both of whom started off for Margolis at Delaware Park, are probably headed to stakes races on Jan. 23. Cool Bullet, who won the Dec. 19 Sugar Bowl Stakes, is a likely starter in the Lecomte Stakes, Margolis said. Visavis, narrowly beaten in the Dec. 19 Lettelier, and a standout debut winner at Delaware, is being pointed to the Tiffany Lass, according to Margolis.