01/30/2008 1:00AM

Ceasers March looks tough to outrun


If you had a horse in a Louisiana-bred second-level allowance race, and that horse ran six furlongs at Fair Grounds in 1:10, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, you would expect to find yourself in the winner's circle posing for a photograph. Well, the gelding Ceasers March ran exactly that fast in such a statebred-restricted allowance race on Dec. 21 at Fair Grounds - but win, he did not.

A Pat Mouton-trained horse named Myoldmansam came out of the fog past the quarter pole that day and buzzed by Ceasers March in deep stretch like he was standing still, winning by three lengths. Even so, Ceasers March figures to be an odds-on favorite to make amends in the featured ninth race on Friday at Fair Grounds, another Louisiana-bred second-level allowance sprint that's also open to $35,000 claimers.

Ceasers March was one of 10 entered in the race, and it's hard to envision him losing again. Though Myoldmansam came and got him last time, Ceasers March finished more than seven lengths in front of the third-place horse while making his first start in six months, and has looked like an unusually talented Louisiana-bred since he made his career debut in December 2006.

Ceasers March's form went awry when he shipped to Kentucky and tried open stakes company in last spring's Derby Trial, and he never found himself again during a poor early-summer campaign. But the last-start loss at least showed that Ceasers March had regained his old spark, and getting that comeback race out of the way should benefit the 4-year-old gelding.

Ceasers March was fresh and fast from the gate last time, and may have run himself out of a win with an opening quarter-mile in about 21.40 seconds. Since the race, trainer Bret Calhoun appears to have made a conscious effort to slow everything down: Ceasers March didn't work again for almost a month, and his two breezes between starts both produced slow times, which in this case seems like a good sign.

The Fair Grounds-loving Dr. Schwartz might have the best chance at an upset, having made his two most recent starts under unsuitable conditions. Dr. Schwartz, who has compiled a Fair Grounds dirt record of 4 wins and 2 seconds from 6 races, went two turns on turf in a statebred-restricted stakes Jan. 5, and two turns on dirt when he was claimed for $35,000 out of a second-place finish on Dec. 24. What Dr. Schwartz seems to do best is make one stretch run in a sprint race. But even that probably won't be enough to run down Ceasers March.