08/09/2012 12:10PM

Evangeline Downs: Apart will need a return to his best form in Mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Apart's last win came in the William Donald Schaefer Memorial at Pimlico in 2011.

OPELOUSAS, La. – Armed with a classy r è sum é and sporting some first-rate connections, Apart has shipped in from Kentucky for Saturday night’s $125,000 Evangeline Mile. The 122-pound highweight, Apart will take on Florida import Imperial Czar and a strong local contingent in the meet’s richest offering for the handicap division.

Apart is trained by Al Stall Jr. and owned by Adele Dilschneider, who teamed up to campaign 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame. Apart last tasted victory in the William Donald Schaefer Memorial at Pimlico in 2011, a race Blame won in 2010 en route to his Eclipse Award-winning season as top older male. Apart also won the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in 2010.

Although Apart is the likely favorite in the Evangeline Mile, he has not been as productive in 2012. The 5-year-old son of Flatter was an unthreatening fifth in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard in early May and sixth in Nates Mineshaft’s virtual walkover in the Lone Star Handicap on Memorial Day when he was allowed to set pedestrian fractions on the front end. Apart’s best efforts have come from a stalking position, and with the one-two finishers out of the seven-furlong, one-turn Oak Hall Stakes run here last month – Dance Caller and Unitas – capable of establishing some lively fractions, Apart appears to be in a favorable tactical position.

Apart’s sharp 47-second half-mile breeze at Louisiana Downs last Sunday indicates that he may be ready to wake up, and his significant class advantage makes him the one to beat Saturday. Stall has given the call to crafty veteran Gerald Melancon. Apart will break from post 3 in the 10-horse field.

Imperial Czar is looking to recapture the magic that produced wins in the Miami Mile and American Dreamer Stakes at Calder the last two seasons. A 4-year-old Imperialism colt, he is at his best going a two-turn mile and should join Apart in the second flight in the early stages of the Mile. He is trained by Saul Matos and will be ridden by Juan Delgado, who will make up most of his 117-pound assignment.

Also rated at 117 pounds under the handicap conditions of the Mile is locally based Heavy On Themister. The Shawn David charge finished a courageous second to three-time Mile winner Star Guitar on June 30 in the Louisiana Legends Classic, a race that Star Guitar has now won four years in a row. Heavy On Themister comes in off a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 94 and will once again be in the capable hands of Tracy Hebert.

With an abundance of front-runners in the field, pace handicappers may take a long look at Its Mr Slew to You. The 5-year-old son of Vindication has raced exclusively on turf dating back over a year but has exhibited a strong kick on occasion and is a winner over the main track. He will tote a feathery 109 pounds. Trainer Roland Bruno will give B.J. Williams a leg up.