01/05/2011 3:59PM

Dreamsrunwild may try Lecomte next

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Cat Eyes (right) has earned $130,000 since being purchased for $1,000 by assistant trainer Roland Tezeno.
Alexander Barkoff

Dreamsrunwild, who lost all chance in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot when carried to the outside rail in an incident on the final turn, will likely make his next start in the Grade  3, $100,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds, said his trainer, Steve Duke.

The mile and 40-yard Lecomte will be run Jan. 22 and is the first local prep for the Louisiana Derby.

Dreamsrunwild was racing behind Aces N Kings in the Nov. 20 Jackpot when that horse lost his rider, Calvin Borel, and darted out in a move that carried Dreamsrunwild well wide in the mile and a sixteenth race.

“Our horse actually hit the outside fence with the rider still on him,” Duke said. “It was a near disaster. We really struggled in there.”

Duke said just before the incident happened, he felt that Dreamsrunwild, a closer, was “poised to pass quite a few horses.

“It was bad racing luck,” he said. “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Duke said Dreamsrunwild is also nominated to the $250,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs on Jan. 14. The horse worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:15.40 at Fair Grounds on Monday in a major prep for the Lecomte.

“It really was a super work,” Duke said. “He galloped out strong.

“With the long stretch here and his style of running, we just kind of want to give him a shot and see what happens. I don’t know if he’s that good or not, but it won’t take long to find out.”

Dreamsrunwild registered his biggest win in the $78,000 Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs in September, scoring by a head over the previously undefeated Aces N Kings.

Duke is based at Fair Grounds for the first time after typically wintering at Delta

“A few of my Louisiana-breds were a little better than they were in the past and a couple of them like the grass a little better than the dirt, so we came over here, mostly for them,” he said.

Bargain mare rewards former groom

Buy low and win big is a goal for many owners, and it’s the dream Roland Tezeno has been living for the past year and a half. When his Cat Eyes won a $20,000 optional claiming allowance at Fair Grounds last month, it was her sixth win since Tezeno bought the mare for $1,000 in June 2009. He said she has since earned $130,000 in a nice financial windfall for the former groom who now works as the assistant to Cat Eyes’s trainer, Wes Hawley.

“She’s been good to me,” said Tezeno, a 43-year-old from Lafayette, La.

Tezeno was looking for a filly a few summers back, and was able to buy Cat Eyes “on the cuff,” meaning he could pay for her out of her winnings. At the time, she was being treated for Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, a neurological disease from which horses can recover.

“She was on that EPM medicine, and I was giving it to her every day and I noticed it was kind of affecting her,” Tezeno said. “I took her off of it and she started gaining weight, training good, showing a lot. She started looking bright.”

Tezeno ran Cat Eyes a month after making the deal, and she won a $5,000 claiming race by a neck in a victory that enabled him to pay for the mare. Cat Eyes then began her ascent up the class ladder, and hit a pinnacle in May when she won the $40,000 Louisiana Cup Ladies, a starter stakes on the turf at Louisiana Downs.

In her most recent start Jan. 1, Cat Eyes finished seventh as the favorite in a $20,000 optional claimer that came off the turf. Tezeno was not discouraged. He said she did not handle the wet track, and he looks forward to her next race. Tezeno said he also might expand his stable.

“I’m thinking about claiming a horse,” he said Wednesday.

◗ Trainer Michael Stidham has picked up three horses for owner Rick Porter, whose past Fair Grounds successes have included sweeping the track’s 3-year-old series in 2009 with Friesan Fire. Stidham said he looks to have his first starter for Porter sometime in January.