12/11/2007 1:00AM

Costa Rising won't cross state lines soon

EmailNEW ORLEANS - Costa Rising had his connections celebrating and hoping for bigger things as he wired the field in Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day Classic. Running 1 1/8 miles, Costa Rising won by 15 1/4 lengths, and the $90,000 in purse earnings sent his lifetime earnings over $871,000.

"Just lucky. I feel so lucky," said owner Charles Castille. "I'll never have another horse like him. I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."

"He was comfortable the whole time," said jockey Robbie Albarado. "It was almost a gallop for him."

Crossing the border isn't in trainer Glenn Delahoussaye's immediate plans. Delahoussaye is focused on confirming Costa Rising's pre-eminence in Louisiana-bred history.

He said Costa Rising would run in the Feb. 2 Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs, "and if he maintains his form through that race, we'll take a shot at the New Orleans Handicap. The timing for that race is perfect."

The Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap will be run March 8, and would represent the stiffest challenge to date for the 4-year-old. Delahoussaye is optimistic about his chances.

"This is about more than money to us," said Delahoussaye. "This is for the state of Louisiana. He's a true Louisiana-bred, not a horse that ships in to foal here. He might be a horse of destiny."

Psyched about Ahead of Her Time

Trainer Steve Asmussen had entries in four races on Louisiana Champions Day, and won only the Ladies, but the victory, by Ahead of Her Time, was sweet. Three-year-old Ahead of Her Time is now a perfect 6 for 6 on the dirt, with more chances to race in Louisiana-bred restricted company in front of her.

"When we bought her, that was the target," said Asmussen. "We were extremely excited about the chance to run her. She ran extremely well. She might go to Oaklawn. She might go to Delta for Premier Night."

The Asmussen barn remains in full swing, with many of its stars returning to action.

Pyro, who finished second in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, is back galloping. A 2-year-old son of Pulpit, he will work near the first of the year and is being aimed at the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes.

Kodiak Kowboy, returning from his third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is back from a vacation and headed back into training,.

"We gave Kodiak Kowboy more of a break than Pyro, but he's definitely a professional," said Asmussen. "He'll come around pretty quickly."

Also returning from a layoff is Zanjero. A 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run, he got a vacation after storming home to win the Grade 2 Indiana Derby on Oct. 6, and arrives this week at Fair Grounds.

"He's never been given a break," said Asmussen. "He'll be pointed toward the New Orleans Handicap."

Star Guitar gets a short breather

Star Guitar entered Saturday's Juvenile as one of the most anticipated new horses on the Louisiana-bred scene, and his game closing performance for the victory will do nothing to diminish expectations.

"He came out of the race fine," said trainer Al Stall. "He'll be given a rest. He's run twice in 16 days."

Stall said Star Guitar would not run in the Dec. 31 Louisiana Futurity but was "under consideration" for the Lecomte on Jan 12. Stall also indicated the possibility of running in the Premier Night Prince, a race for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds going seven furlongs at Delta Downs on Feb. 2.

Illness knocks Fort Prado out of Bonapaw

Fort Prado was shipped from Florida to Fair Grounds about two weeks ago in order to start in the Dec. 22 Bonapaw Stakes. Instead, he wound up in the hospital.

Fort Prado, who won the $112,000 Woodford Stakes this past fall at Keeneland, turned in a half-mile workout Friday, but soon after developed a serious case of diarrhea, according to Chicago-based trainer Chris Block. Block, whose family owns Fort Prado, has turned the horse over to Fair Grounds-based trainer Jeff Trosclair, as he has the last two winters.

"He got horribly sick," Block said Monday, noting that Fort Prado had "lost a lot of fluids." The horse was sent to the Louisiana State University veterinary clinic "just as a precaution," said Block. "He's doing way, way better now."

The setback will cost Fort Prado his intended spot in the Bonapaw, Block said.

Corrupt, whose promising 3-year-old season was interrupted by injury this past spring, traveled to Fair Grounds from Florida with Fort Prado, Block said.

Tactical Weapon pointed for Woodchipper

Tactical Weapon came home a winner in Sunday's feature race, a second-level allowance, and will be pointed toward the Dec. 24 Woodchopper.

"It was good for him to sit off the pace and give himself something to run at," said trainer Ronnie Werner. "If he stays in the tub, and gains his weight back, he'll go in the Woodchopper."

- additional reporting by Marcus Hersh