03/07/2013 3:04PM

Fair Grounds: Delaunay eyes Kenner for fifth win in a row

Email
Jamie Hernandez/Hodges Photography
Delaunay will have leading jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard in the six-furlong Kenner.

NE W ORLEANS – The difference between decent sprinter and standout sprinter is “not that great,” according to trainer Tom Amoss, who will send out Delaunay as a solid favorite Saturday in the marquee sprint of the Fair Grounds meet, the $150,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes.

“These reformed claimers often revert back to their old form after they hit a peak,” said Amoss, who has led the standings for much of this 2012-13 meet in seeking his 10th Fair Grounds training title. “We’re just going to enjoy the ride as long as we can. Breeders’ Cup? I’m not even going to allow myself to think that far ahead for even one second.”

Whether any regression from Delaunay comes Saturday or sometime later this year – or even at all – will be part of the handicapping process when Delaunay faces five other older sprinters. Delaunay will have leading jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard when he breaks from the outside post in the six-furlong Kenner.

A 6-year-old bay gelding by Smoke Glacken, Delaunay was claimed by Amoss for Maggi Moss for $40,000 last May. He will be seeking a fifth straight victory, all in lesser stakes, after earning a career-high 110 Beyer Speed Figure in dominating his last race, the Jan. 26 Gaudin Memorial.

“Look at him,” Amoss said while standing in Delaunay’s stall earlier this week. “He’s got this big, strong shoulder and this big hind end. This one’s a real racehorse.”

Gantry, the 2012 Kenner winner, has been the runner-up three times to Delaunay over the last six months, and trainer Ron Faucheux is at a loss to explain how Gantry might be able to turn the tables on his nemesis Saturday. Gantry will have regular rider Richard Eramia aboard breaking from post 3 as the second wagering choice.

“We’ve got to be hopeful that maybe Delaunay stubs his toe a little bit,” Faucheux said. “He’s one of the best sprinters in the country right now. Our horse has been consistent throughout, though. He’s run the same kind of numbers – that’s who he is.”

The balance of the Kenner field, all of them locally based as well, consists of Amanecer de Oro, a standout Louisiana-bred; Ghost Is Clear, who has risen steadily from the $10,000 claiming ranks in winning 3 of 4 starts since being claimed by Mike Maker; Hero of Order, the 109-1 winner of the 2012 Louisiana Derby; and Su Casa G Casa, another Louisiana-bred whose nifty recent wins have left him the 123-pound highweight under the race conditions.

Hero of Order, as usual, is the curiosity of the field, having lost nine straight races – some of them badly – since his historic score here nearly a year ago.

This will be the 60th running of the Kenner, which is named for a prominent Civil War-era politician and plantation owner from New Orleans. The race had been known as the Pelleteri Handicap through the 2004 renewal.

The Kenner goes as the ninth of 11 Saturday races. First post is 1 p.m. Central, with the Kenner going at 4:57.