10/29/2008 12:00AM

Costa Rising looking good on comeback trail


Costa Rising's return to training was delayed this summer because of extreme weather, but he is now back galloping at the Evangeline Downs training center in Lafayette, La., and could return to the races as early as February, trainer Glenn Delahoussaye said.

Costa Rising was scheduled to resume training July 1 following arthroscopic surgery to remove a small bone chip from his left hind ankle last December. But with soaring temperatures this past summer, and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike that followed, Delahoussaye said he and owner Charles Castille decided there was no reason to rush Costa Rising.

"With the heat, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense to bring him back up in that kind of environment," Delahoussaye said. "Down here in August, it was brutal. And then with the two hurricanes, he was safe where he was at, and we said, what's another 30 days?"

Delahoussaye looks for Costa Rising, a 10-time stakes winner who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 118 for an allowance win at Evangeline Downs in 2007, to have his first work back in the beginning of December. He said the horse could return to stakes competition at the end of March, during the Lagniappe Weekend of statebred races at Fair Grounds.

Costa Rising was last seen in action in December 2007, when he romped by 15 lengths in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. Following the race, a routine physical exam revealed the bone chip. Delahoussaye is pleased with how Costa Rising, 5, has looked upon his return to his stable in Lafayette.

"He's kind of a bigger version of what he was before," he said. "He looks fantastic. I'm excited to have him back."

Costa Rising, who is one of the richest Louisiana-breds with earnings of $861,366, is a son of Royal Strand.

Remington: Brownie Points to Churchill

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said Brownie Points is scheduled to make her next start in one of two races at Churchill Downs, the Grade 3, $100,000 Cardinal Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf Nov. 15, or the Grade 2, $200,000 Falls City Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 27.

Brownie Points defeated males in the $150,000 DeBartolo Memorial at 1 1/8 miles on turf at her Remington Park base in September. In her most recent start, she was fourth in the $125,000 Remington Green, also against males. The 1 1/16-mile race was run on soft turf. A career earner of $946,442, the mare races for Pin Oak Stable.

Pin Oak also owns Euphony, who picked up her third straight stakes win in the $75,000 Remington Park Oaks on turf Oct. 19. Prior to that race, she won the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks on dirt Sept. 20 and the $50,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks on turf at Louisiana Downs.

"She'll be off until Hot Springs," Von Hemel said, referring to the meet at Oaklawn Park. "It was a very nice year for her."

Euphony, who won her debut in January at Oaklawn, is a daughter of Forest Wildcat, just like Brownie Points.

Retama: El Joven, La Senorita shaping up

Valid Message, winner of the $75,000 Sunny's Halo at Louisiana Downs, is one of the top horses Retama Park racing secretary James Leatherman is expecting for Saturday night's $100,000 El Joven. The one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds could also draw Holly Jet, who won the allowance prep for the El Joven.

The $100,000 La Senorita, for 2-year-old fillies at a mile on turf, also could have some Louisiana Downs stakes alums in its field - Meaux Speed, Splash of Roses, and My Spanx.

"The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers from the Happy Ticket are planning to return in the La Senorita," Leatherman said.

The El Joven and La Senorita are the richest open-company stakes at Retama.

Delta Downs: Southern Invasion returns

Southern Invasion, who has run well against the last two winners of the $200,000 Premier Night Championship at Delta, seeks his first stakes win Friday night in the track's $60,000 Cocodrie.

The seven-furlong race, which will be run around two turns, is for Louisiana-breds who have never won a stakes. Also on the card is its counterpart for fillies and mares, the $60,000 Gardenia.

Southern Invasion, who is making his first start since January, has kept some class company. In November 2007, he finished second to Costa Rising in the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta. Following the race, Costa Rising, who had won the Premier in February 2007, captured the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds.

Southern Invasion's other brush with a Premier winner came in his last start, when he was fourth in the $58,000 Cypress at Delta. The runner-up from the race, Magic Sunset, came back in his next start to win this year's Premier. Gerard Melancon has the mount on Southern Invasion for Bobby Asaro and trainer Keith Bourgeois.