02/13/2008 12:00AM

Euroears keeps winning on dirt, turf


Owners James and Marilyn Helzer are big names in the Quarter Horse world. They have stallion stations in three states and owned one of the most famous Quarter Horses of all time, 1992-93 world champion Refrigerator. Their latest Thoroughbred stakes horse, Euroears, could pass for a Quarter Horse. Euroears possesses a flashy chestnut coat and has hindquarters the size of small automobiles. And so far, nobody can beat him.

Euroears ran his career record to 5 for 5 last Saturday, winning the Colonel Power Handicap by one length over Stormin Baghdad, who has given his all trying to catch Euroears in his last two starts and failed both times. Euorears has won on dirt at Lone Star, Remington, and Fair Grounds, and with his Saturday score, has won twice over the Fair Grounds grass course.

"People keep coming up to me and giving me advice, saying, 'Oh, he's better on turf,' or 'He's better on dirt,'" trainer Bret Calhoun said. "I train the horse every day, and I don't know. Mr. Helzer, he thinks the horse would run through a plowed field, and I kind of agree with him."

Euroears came out of the Colonel Power in good condition, Calhoun said, and is expected to return to dirt for his next start, the $200,000 Duncan Kenner Stakes on March 8 at Fair Grounds.

"He really bounced out of it pretty good," Calhoun said. "As hard as he runs, the races don't seem to be draining on him. If you notice, he's always running through the wire. I don't think we've gotten to the bottom of him yet."

Despite Euroears's appearance and his ample speed, plans are in the works to try him around two turns. That opportunity could come in the $300,000 Texas Mile on April 26 at Lone Star, according to Calhoun.

Blackberry Road's bad luck

Blackberry Road can't seem to catch a break, and, in fact, his luck seems to be getting worse. After making a wide move and finishing second last month in the Lecomte Stakes - a race that uses only a portion of the Fair Grounds stretch, a detriment to a late-runner like Blackberry Road - Blackberry Road had a nightmarish journey Saturday while finishing fifth in the Risen Star.

Taken well back behind a slow pace, Blackberry Road was steadied several times on the backstretch, trouble that was minor compared to his traffic problems in the stretch run, where he was buried behind a wall of horses most of the straightaway.

"He had some minor cuts and stuff, but he's fine, and was back on the track today," trainer David Carroll said Wednesday. "He never really had a race, to be honest with you."

Despite the likelihood of facing Pyro again, Blackberry Road is being pointed for the Louisiana Derby, Carroll said. Cot Campbell of the Dogwood Stable partnership that owns Blackberry Road suggested in comments disseminated to the media this week that jockey Calvin Borel could be replaced, but nothing official has been announced.

Meanwhile, Carroll said Denis of Cork's work Monday at Fair Grounds had gone well, and that the undefeated colt was to ship Thursday from New Orleans to Oaklawn Park, where he starts Monday in the Southwest Stakes.

Valenzuela delays arrival again

Jockey Pat Valenzuela still hasn't arrived at Fair Grounds, though he was named to ride last Friday, and told his prospective agent that he now intends to come to New Orleans next weekend.

Danny Gargan, who would be Valenzuela's agent in the event he does begin riding at Fair Grounds, booked a handful of mounts for Valenzuela last week, but now is reporting a second delay in Valenzuela's arrival. After Valenzuela had to be taken off the mounts on which he was named, he was supposed to come to New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 10, work horses this week, and perhaps begin riding Saturday. Now, Gargan said Valenzuela has informed him that he intends to arrive this coming Sunday, and won't begin riding until sometime next week.

"He said that he's working on getting his weight down," Gargan reported.

Valenzuela has lost his provisional license to ride in California, but is in possession of a valid Louisiana jockey's license. Since California issued no ruling against Valenzuela, only taking away his provisional license, Louisiana racing officials say they have no legal basis to prevent Valenzuela from riding.

Jones pleased with Proud Spell

Three-year-old filly Proud Spell came out of her closing second-place finish behind Indian Blessing last Saturday in good shape, trainer Larry Jones said, and is on target to start in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 8.

"It looked like what we were needing the first race back," Jones said. "I couldn't be happier with her."