01/13/2011 4:40PM

Distance may be issue for Flashy Wise Cat in Jackson Memorial

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Louis Hodges Jr.
Flashy Wise Cat wins the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint by 4 1/2 lengths.

It’s common for an owner and trainer to tangle over the proper place to run a horse. When the trainer’s owner also happens to be his father, add in another layer of complexity.

Troy Young trains Flashy Wise Cat, and Young’s dad Lee owns him. Lee Young anted up $100,000 to acquire Flashy Wise Cat at auction, a major sum for a son of the obscure sire Catastrophe, and the elder Young has had strong feelings about the horse all along.

Last season, after Flashy Wise Cat won Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Champions Day Sprint by 4 1/2 impressive lengths, Lee Young had in mind making his horse into a route runner. His son, the trainer, wasn’t sold on the idea but acceded to his owner’s wishes. Flashy Wise Cat wasn’t hapless running long, but he wasn’t so good at it either, finishing fourth in a pair of Louisiana-bred two-turn starts. This Fair Grounds season, owner and trainer apparently are on the same page. Flashy Wise Cat will follow up on a second straight Champions Day Sprint blowout with a start Saturday in the $60,000 John Jackson Memorial, one of two Louisiana-bred sprint stakes on the Fair Grounds card.

Still, skeptical horseplayers will be asking distance questions of Flashy Wise Cat on Saturday. The Jackson is carded at just 5 1/2 furlongs, and there is the chance that Flashy Wise Cat won’t be able to get up on time. Probably, though, he will. One can see why Lee Young thought to run his horse two turns, since Flashy Wise Cat stands over a good piece of ground and has a long stride. That stride kicks into high gear about three furlongs into a race, and in the Dec. 11 Champions Day Sprint, Flashy Wise Cat flew into the stretch run like he’d been shot from a cannon. It’s been that way, in fact, every time the 6-year-old has sprinted at Fair Grounds: He’s won all three such races by almost 12 lengths combined.

Back for the Jackson is My Star Runner, who was favored to beat Flashy Wise Cat on Champions Day but proved no late match for the winner while holding second. Also among the seven-horse field is Foreign Production, a tiger at Louisiana Downs who has proved little more than an early pacesetter in most of his Fair Grounds tries.

Happy Ticket: Cajun Conference back

Flashy Wise Cat was one of only a couple horses to successfully rally from off the pace on the Champions Day program. Another was Cajun Conference, who broke last of 14, was seven lengths off the lead at the first call, and still won the Ladies Sprint by more than two lengths while making her first start in 11 months.

Cajun Conference is one of eight fillies and mares entered in the $60,000 Happy Ticket, another 5 1/2-furlong dirt race, and, like Flashy Wise Cat, she appears to stand a good chance of repeating. Regression following a big comeback win should be considered, but Cajun Conference has had five weeks to recover from her race, and trainer Eric Heitzmann has taken things fairly easy in the morning, with Cajun Conference posting only one timed workout between starts. Expect the Ladies Sprint winner to be placed closer to the early pace Saturday, since an awkward start last out led to a change in her typical positioning.

Good Human Bean, Speedacious, and Cherry Forever are the three horses most likely to step forward, if Cajun Conference steps back.