02/01/2012 4:47PM

Fair Grounds: Applauding to stay at home for Rachel Alexandra

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Applauding was scratched from the Silverbulletday.

Applauding is on course to make her two-turn and 3-year-old debut at Fair Grounds after all.

Trainer Al Stall said Wednesday that Applauding was a likely runner in the Rachel Alexandra, part of a multi-stakes program on Feb. 25 in New Orleans. That’s a change from the tentative plan Stall and owner Ramona Bass had made last week, when the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park became a possible spot for Applauding. But after giving the situation further consideration, the Rachel Alexandra, a 1 1/16-mile race with a $200,000 purse, became the preferred destination.

“We just want to keep her home,” Stall said. “She’s won here already, trained here regularly.”

Applauding, a Congrats filly who has started her career with two brilliant six-furlong wins, was to have raced Jan. 21 in the Silverbulletday Stakes, which would have been her first race around two turns, but the filly was scratched the morning of the race after showing signs of colic. Applauding rapidly responded to treatment and by the afternoon seemed like herself again, but the timing of whatever intestinal distress came briefly upon the filly was terrible.

Stall said Applauding has been doing fine since resuming training early last week, and that the filly would have her first breeze since the Silverbulletday scratch sometime this weekend.

Meanwhile, Stall has other horses coming along who, their connections hope, will be stakes performances in 2012. Cease, who nearly won the Hawthorne Gold Cup after a first-level allowance win at Saratoga, has turned in a series of workouts in preparation for his 2012 debut. And 4-year-old Bind, who dazzled in a debut victory last season at Fair Grounds before failing to improve on that performance, has worked twice in recent weeks after joining Stall’s Fair Grounds string last fall following an injury layoff.