02/22/2010 12:00AM

Evade may be a momma's boy


NEW ORLEANS - If Evade favors his mother, as trainer Al Stall suspects, he should be good to go in Monday's feature, a second-level optional claimer scheduled for 1 3/8 miles over the Fair Grounds turf.

The distance is the longest Evade has ever been asked to run, but Stall believes he favors the side of his pedigree that can get the distance. Evade is a 5-year-old gelding by Smoke Glacken out of the Defensive Play mare Cunning Play.

"He's by a sprinter out of a mile-and-a-halfer, so it's a top-side, bottom-side question," said Stall. "He looks like a Defensive Play horse - he's got that big thick head. And he acts more like Defensive Play than Smoke Glacken, which means that he should be able to go the distance."

Evade's last race was a determined victory in a one-mile optional claiming race on Jan. 4 over the Fair Grounds turf. He raced in second for most of the race, five lengths behind Unpaid Crusade, before closing to get up by a neck.

"He likes the turf at the Fair Grounds and the Polytrack at Keeneland," said Stall. "He's kind of a one-paced horse, so he'll be on or near the front-end. We have no idea if he'll go that far, but I'm guessing, and I hope I am guessing right."

When Evade goes for the front, he's likely to find Swains News, who finished third two races ago in the Diliberto Memorial Handicap, and who has already proved himself at the distance.

With four wins to his credit, Swains News gets into the race by virtue of the $40,000 claiming price.

Three races ago, at Remington Park, Swains News set the pace, was headed in the stretch, and then battled back to win a starter handicap going 1 3/8 miles.

If Swains News and Evade get involved in a speed duel, things will set up well for Hidden Glance, who enters this race of a second-place effort at this level.

Hidden Glance stayed closer to the pace in that Jan. 2 race, made a charge at the end, but came up a half-length short. He will again be ridden by Robby Albarado, who has ridden him in 13 of his 18 starts.