11/07/2009 1:00AM

Comedero impresses in Old Hickory


The girls in the Pontalba Stakes and the boys in the Old Hickory went close to the same pace in their opening quarter-mile, and the leader in the two races at Fair Grounds hit the half-mile just .10 of a second apart. But from the half-mile home, it was the gelding Comedero that stood out. He finished strongly after setting the pace in the Old Hickory, turning in a fine six-furlong time of 1:10.13, almost a second faster than it took Right to Rule to win the Pontalba.

Comedero ($5) surely ranks as one of the fastest Arkansas-breds in recent years. Racing for trainer Morris Nicks, he won a maiden special weight Sept. 1 at Louisiana Downs by more than 12 lengths in his career debut. About a month later, he spread out the Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds and won by more than four.

Saturday, it was much the same at Fair Grounds, though now Comedero races for trainer Mike Stidham. Away alertly from the rail under James Graham, Comedero went up to lead through fractions of 22.20 and 45.84 seconds. Enumerate and Auspicious Risk stacked up two and three paths wide to draw even at the quarter pole, but Comedero shrugged off the challenge, and was going away at the end while finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front.

Vito Filitto came on to get second, with Enumerate third, and Auspicious Risk fading to fourth.

Steve Asmussen got his first win of the meet in the Pontalba, thanks in great part to an astute ride by Shane Sellers. Sellers kept Right to Rule in behind dueling leaders Blading Gold Ring and favored Greeley's Rocket, only asking Right to Rule just before the eighth pole. She got past Greeley's Rocket, and held on to win by a nose as the favorite came back on in deep stretch.

"When you ride for Steve, you know you're well-mounted," said Sellers.

Right to Rule ($6.40) was timed in 1:11.12. Blading Gold Ring finished third.

Show wagering was canceled on both races because only four horses raced in each.