01/08/2009 12:00AM

Delta Downs: Star Production doubly appealing


Star Production will have two major angles working in his favor on Saturday night in the $75,000 Cypress Stakes at Delta Downs: Recency and distance. He will be making his second start off a layoff in the one-mile race, and he will be cutting back to a distance that suits him well after finishing second by three-quarters of a length in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at 1 1/8 miles at Fair Grounds on Dec. 13.

"It had been about 10 weeks since he had a race last time," said James Hodges, who trains the multiple stakes-winning Star Production for Foxwood Plantation. "I thought he ran real good, as good as he could that day."

Hodges looks for Star Production to move forward in his second start since September. He also likes the cutback in distance for Star Production, who drew post 2.

"Since he likes to be on the front, the mile ought to be good," said Hodges, who has given the mount to Carlos Gonzalez.

The Cypress drew six older Louisiana-breds, including Mr. Canaveral, who has won 4 of his last 5 starts, and Southern Invasion, who was third in the Champions Day Classic. The race will share a card with the $75,000 Camelia, which is for fillies and mares bred in Louisiana. The two stakes serve as preps for the richest races on the $1 million Louisiana Premier Night program Feb. 7, the $200,000 Championship and the $150,000 Distaff.

The Cypress and Camelia were to have been run last weekend, but were postponed to allow all nominees a fair chance to enter in the wake of shipping restrictions that were in place at the time after a horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus at Fair Grounds.

In the Camelia, Sammie Sam could be favored after her runner-up finish to Louisiana-bred standout Superior Storm in the $100,000 Ladies Classic on the Champions Day card at Fair Grounds. The Beyer Speed Figure of 88 that Sammie Sam earned is the best last-race number on the Camelia. Trainer Sturges Ducoing has given the mount to Gerard Melancon.

Another top contender is Zarb's Ballerina for trainer Danny Whited.