10/25/2012 3:28PM

Delta Downs: Heavy On Themister has big shoes to fill in Gold Cup

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Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Populist Politics (above) looks like the biggest threat to Heavy On Themister in the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs.

The $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs on Saturday night ushers in something of a new era for Louisiana-bred racing: Life without Star Guitar. The one-mile race is for 3-year-olds and up bred in Louisiana, the division Star Guitar dominated from 2009 until his retirement this summer, when he won the 22nd stakes of his career in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic at Evangeline Downs.

Heavy On Themister finished second by three-quarters of a length in that June 30 race and figures to start as a strong favorite Friday night in the Gold Cup. He is part of a 10-horse field that also includes Populist Politics and Top Cat Boogie. The race is a first look at some of the horses expected for the Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds on Dec. 8.

Heavy On Themister is an up-and-coming player in the division. He set a track record for six furlongs at Evangeline in May, when he won an allowance in 1:08.80. Heavy On Themister went on to finish a big second in the Legends Classic, then returned to action Aug. 11 and defeated open company in the $125,000 Evangeline Mile.

“We’re awfully excited about him,” said Shawn David, who trains Heavy On Themister for breeders Rebecca Farms and T.J. Dickey. “He really seems to be coming into his own. He has matured a lot since that last race. We freshened him, and it seems to have done him good.”

Heavy On Themister wired the field in the Evangeline Mile, but could call on different tactics in the Gold Cup as there appears to be a good deal of speed in the race in the form of Top Cat Boogie and Well’s Gold. Tracy Hebert has the mount on Heavy On Themister, a 4-year-old by Lion Tamer who will break from post 5.

Populist Politics, who was beaten a head by Star Guitar in the Costa Rising at Fair Grounds in April, will be making his first start since Aug. 4, when he was eased in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Cup at Mountaineer.

“He entrapped in the race,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “It shut down his air.”

Populist Politics had won an allowance at Indiana Downs prior to the start at Mountaineer.

◗ Trainer Dale Romans nominated 69 horses to the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot for 2-year-olds Nov. 17, the track announced. In all, 301 horses were made eligible for the race, up 19 percent from 252 nominations in 2011. Nominations are free, and pre-entries are Nov. 6.