03/01/2012 4:43PM

Delta: Izzie's Gold shortens up for Azalea


Izzie’s Gold will be cutting back to one turn for Saturday night’s $75,000 Azalea at Delta Downs, and the move could mean the filly, normally a front-runner, might come from off the pace. She is one of eight 3-year-olds in the five-furlong race restricted to fillies bred in Louisiana.

The Azalea will share a card with the $75,000 Pelican, a five-furlong race for 3-year-olds bred in Louisiana.

Izzie’s Gold is the class of the Azalea as the winner of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie at Fair Grounds on Dec. 10. She comes into Saturday night’s race off a fourth-place finish in the $125,000 Premiere Night Starlet, a seven-furlong race that is run around two turns at Delta Downs. Izzie’s Gold dueled on the lead for a good part of the stakes. For the Azalea, she will break from post 8.

“As with several horses in the race, she’s a quick filly,” said Brett Brinkman, who trains Izzie’s Gold for Walter New. “I think going five-eighths, turning back, it gives us options with our post position. I do know she’ll run by horses. I’m not afraid of that. She doesn’t have to be on the front end.

“I think the roll back in distance is going to play into her, and not against her.”

There are several candidates to set the pace in the Azalea, as just one other filly in the field, Main Stage, will be cutting back from two turns. Kiss My Interest, who won a maiden special weight at five furlongs on the front end in her last start, will break from the rail, while Miss Stone Express is coming off her second straight wire-to-wire win at five furlongs at Delta Downs.

As for Izzie’s Gold, she won her maiden at five furlongs in a maiden special weight last summer at Evangeline Downs. In her most recent sprint start, she was second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the $100,000 fillies division of the Louisiana Futurity at Fair Grounds on Dec. 31. She then made a rare route start on Premiere Night at Delta.

“I haven’t really sold myself that she’s an actual two-turn horse yet,” said Brinkman.

Gerard Melancon has the mount on Izzie’s Gold. Saturday is his first day back riding after being seriously injured in a spill on Jan. 13.

Bucktown, who was a romping winner of a Feb. 25 allowance at Fair Grounds, invades for the Pelican. He won the six-furlong race by 6 1/2 lengths, covering the distance in a quick 1:09.80. Ramsey Zimmerman was aboard, and has the call again for trainer Bernie Flint.
The field also includes Top Cat Boogie, winner of the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs last August.