03/24/2010 11:00PM

Euroears ready for revenge in Kenner


NEW ORLEANS - What the Kenner lacks in quantity, it makes up for with quality.

Having drawn only five entries, the $105,000 Duncan F. Kenner begins the stakes racing Saturday as the sixth race, going six furlongs on the main track and featuring a rematch of two of the best sprinters at the Fair Grounds in recent years.

Cash Refund defeated Euroears when they met in the Gaudin on Jan. 23, as Euroears was taken off of his game chasing the speedy Cash Refund early and tiring badly to sixth.

Since then, both have been given time off, and have been training toward the rematch.

"Our horse is coming into the race in really good shape," said Cash Refund's trainer, Steve Margolis. "He's training extremely well, and he's certainly shown an affinity for the track."

Euroears feasted on the sprint stakes at the Fair Grounds in 2008, winning the Kenner by 3 1/4 lengths, possibly the best race of his 12-race career.

His performance since that race has been marked by injury, with ankle problems in 2008 and a cannon bone fracture in 2009. Still, he looked to be returning to form when he wired the field at Hoosier Park last October, then followed with a 1 1/2-length victory in the Thanksgiving Day Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Euroears now looks more like his old self, and the 6-year-old fired a bullet work training toward the Kenner.

"It seems like he's doing better than ever," said trainer Bret Calhoun. "I didn't have him fully prepared for his last race, but I feel a lot better about where he is now."

The rematch is complicated by Kensei, who looks like he would prefer to route rather than sprint but must be respected with two Grade 2 wins to his credit.

As a 3-year-old, Kensei won the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont and followed with a win in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

He has been off since finishing third in the Grade 2 Jerome Handicap at Belmont on October 11, with a string of works at the Fair Grounds in anticipation of his 4-year-old campaign.

"This race is a place to start back with him," said his trainer, Steve Asmussen. "I'll feel better about getting a race in him over the track that he has been training on."

Grindstone: Workin for Hops looks fit

Workin for Hops will be looking to make up for lost time in the $60,000 Grindstone, the last of six stakes races. Going as the 11th race on the card, the Grindstone has drawn a field of six 3-year-olds for the 7 1/2-furlong turf sprint.

Workin for Hops was impressive in his debut over the Fair Grounds turf, winning by 4 1/2 lengths over Mountain Justice on Dec. 28 in a first-level allowance. Trainer Mike Stidham had him pointed toward the Feb. 6 Black Gold, but Workin for Hops came down with a lung infection.

The horse has fully recovered, and Stidham is expecting a big race from Workin For Hops.

"He's doing great in his training," Stidham said. "We started a series of works with him after he got well, and he's hit every one perfectly."

Crescent City: Familiar foes for Tensas Cat

Tensas Cat will be looking to match his last performance when he meets a familiar group of foes in the Crescent City Derby, carded as the seventh race.

For Louisiana bred 3-year-olds, the Crescent City Derby is carded for 1 1/16 miles over the Fair Grounds main track, and all but four of the entrants raced three weeks ago in the $60,000 Gentilly stakes, over the Fair Grounds turf.

In the Gentilly, Tensas Cat raced extremely wide, on the firmer part of the turf, to win by two lengths. With the Crescent City going over the main track, Tensas Cat will have to look for other ways to stave off the competition.