Updated on 09/15/2011 1:28PM

District looks fit and ready


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When Frank Brothers sent out District in the Ack Ack Handicap here opening day, he suspected the horse might have been placed a bit ambitiously.

His suspicions were well founded. District, making his first start since January, faded to eighth after tracking the pace in the Ack Ack, seemingly reinforcing the age-old racetrack maxim that not even the most demanding training regimen can supplant a race under the belt.

On Tuesday, District not only will have that needed race behind him, but also will take a step down in class when he faces seven others in the $58,500 feature, a 6 1/2-furlong four-other-than allowance.

District, a 4-year-old Broad Brush colt, came to hand last winter at the Fair Grounds, capping a three-race win streak in the Jan. 13 Colonel Power Handicap there. The Tuesday feature should provide him an excellent chance to show he's ready for another productive winter in New Orleans.

Accelerant, a winner of his last two starts, should prove District's most formidable challenger in the eighth of nine Tuesday races.

The often-heard theme of "may have needed a race" might also be heard in the fifth race Tuesday, when Miss Pickums, winner of the Golden Rod Stakes here last fall, also makes her second start after a lengthy layoff in the $52,000 three-other-than allowance for fillies.

The Tuesday card is an excellent one. It starts with a tough maiden-special sprint in which Holy Gem will try to make amends for a wicked beat in his latest start. Other interesting races include a $50,000 claiming sprint (race 2), a 1 1/4-mile allowance (race 3), and a filly-mare allowance sprint (race 7).

The Tuesday card kicks off the final five-day stretch of the 24-day fall meet. Closing day is Saturday, after which live action on the Kentucky circuit moves the next afternoon to Turfway Park in Florence.

West Nile confirmed

As suspected, the malady that forced the euthanization of the 2-year-old colt Rocket Express was indeed the deadly West Nile virus. Tests from the University of Kentucky Diagnostic Center confirmed that the colt was infected with the virus.

The diagnosis marks the first confirmed case in a Thoroughbred in Kentucky. The initial finding was announced Nov. 8.

* Minister's Baby ($36) upset the Friday feature, a $46,800 allowance route.