12/27/2012 4:58PM

Delta Downs: B-Connected rematches several from Champions Day

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Populist Politics, winning the Mr. Sulu at Fair Grounds, is the class of the B-Connected at Delta Downs.

Populist Politics, the beaten favorite in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, and Watch My Smoke, who finished second in that Fair Grounds race, will get a rematch Saturday night at Delta Downs in the $70,000 B-Connected. The field for the one-mile race for Louisiana-breds who have not won a stakes in 2012 also includes Idefromthebayou and Break Up, both of whom also exit the Champions Day Classic.

Populist Politics is the class of the B-Connected field as a three-time stakes winner nearing $400,000 in earnings. He is seeking to recapture his best form Saturday after finishing an uncharacteristic 10th in the Champions Day Classic on Dec. 8. Tom Amoss, who trains Populist Politics for Klaravich Stables, said the horse was found to have a throat infection following the race. Populist Politics has since resumed working at Fair Grounds.

“I think he’s coming up to the race the right way,” Amoss said. “My biggest concern is how the race sets up for him. I want as a much speed as possible for Populist Politics, and pace is a little bit of a question mark in this race.”

Populist Politics is a strong closer who last year used his kick to win the Mr. Sulu at Fair Grounds and the Louisiana Showcase Mile at Evangeline Downs. His most recent win came four starts ago, in an allowance route at Indiana. Populist Politics on Saturday will break from post 4 under James Graham.

Watch My Smoke has a tactical advantage on Populist Politics because he can sit closer to the pace. He was prominent throughout in the Champions Day Classic, when he finished second by a length to Heavy On Themister. Watch My Smoke will break from the rail Saturday under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.

“He’s got tactical speed,” said Michelle Lovell, who trains Watch My Smoke for Agave Racing Stable. “We’ll let Brian and the horse dictate where they’re at. [Watch My Smoke] has enough speed to find a good position to place himself well, whether on the lead or tracking, wherever they’re comfortable.”

Lovell also likes the move back to a mile for Watch My Smoke after the horse raced at 1 1/8 miles in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

“I think the distance suits him well,” she said. “The last race was probably pushing his limits pretty far.”

Break Up finished sixth in the Champions Day Classic, while Idefromthebayou was ninth. Both are winners at Delta.