11/03/2011 12:27PM

Delta Downs: Star Guitar chases sixth straight win in Gold Cup


Several hours after trainer Al Stall Jr. saddles Cease and Animal Spirits in separate Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs, the stable will close out its day with a significant starter in Louisiana. Star Guitar will be going for his sixth consecutive stakes win Saturday night, when he runs in the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs.

The Gold Cup and the $100,000 Magnolia for fillies and mares will share a card at Delta. The one-mile races are restricted to Louisiana-breds, and both are expected to produce multiple starters for the Louisiana Champions Day program at Fair Grounds on Dec. 10.

Star Guitar is the reigning Louisiana-bred horse of the year, a title he first snared in 2009 after winning seven stakes. He won four more in 2010 and has not slowed down this year, winning stakes in each of his four starts in 2011. Most recently, he scored a 2 3/4-length win in the $125,000 Evangeline Downs Mile over open company Aug. 13.

“It might have been the best race of his career,” Stall said. “He was very sharp, and he’s been that way ever since. For some reason he seems to be better than he’s ever been. He’s training better than he’s ever trained in his life.

“He’s just in an upward cycle, even though his cycle is pretty high, anyway,” he said.

Star Guitar, a 6-year-old homebred for Brittlyn Stable, began his winning streak last December at Fair Grounds. He romped in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, then accounted for the $200,000 Premiere Night Championship at Delta, the $72,000 Costa Rising at Fair Grounds, and the $100,000 Louisiana Showcase Classic at Evangeline.

In the Gold Cup, Star Guitar will face eight others when he breaks from post 6 under Corey Lanerie. His chief rivals include My Star Runner, a winner of back-to-back sprint stakes who starts from the rail, and Break Up, the runner-up to Star Guitar in the Showcase at Evangeline.

A notable runner missing from the field is Get in Da House, the winner of this summer’s Louisiana Breeders’ Derby at Louisiana Downs.

“I just don’t want to run against Star Guitar,” said the horse’s co-owner and trainer, Wes Hawley.

Hawley will still see stakes action at Delta, with Lovenotlost in the Magnolia. She is moving back to dirt for the race after finishing fourth in the $100,000 River Cities at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 10.

“I think she’s a way better horse on the dirt than she is on the grass,” Hawley said. “She can run on the grass, but I think she’s better on the dirt.”

Lovenotlost has won five of eight starts this year, with three of those wins coming in main-track stakes. The River Cities was her first start against older rivals, and she finished 2 1/2 lengths behind winner She’s All In, who has since won an allowance and the $130,000 Oklahoma Classics Distaff.

Lovenotlost, who is owned by Tri-Star Racing, will break from post 2 under Don Simington.

“She’s doing exceptionally well,” Hawley said. “She worked in 1:01 and change the other day, and I couldn’t ask her to be doing any better. Her attitude is good right now. Everything’s good.”