12/18/2012 4:47PM

Fair Grounds: Faucheux tries to keep rolling with Cajun Persuasion on Thursday

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Tom Keyser
Thanksgiving Handicap runner-up Gantry is being pointed to the Gaudin Stakes on Jan. 26.

Ron Faucheux has only been a trainer since 2009, but we know this about him by now: Faucheux wins races. Through Dec. 18, his career record stood at 94 for 315, a strike rate just under 30 percent. Last season at Fair Grounds, Faucheux went 19 for 62, and he continued to win races in bunches over the summer at Evangeline Downs.

Which is why, at first glance, the fact Faucheux had won only one of 12 starts at the current meet as of Dec. 14 seemed so out of character. The dry spell ended this past weekend, when Faucheux won with two of four starters Saturday, and a look back at his 2011-12 Fair Grounds run revealed a similar trend. Through Christmas last meet, Faucheux had won with just two of seven runners; from that point through the end of January, he went 9 for 22.

“For whatever reason, several meets I’ve started off pretty strong, but going into Fair Grounds I’ve started off slow the first month,” said Faucheux, a New Orleans native. “I don’t really run much for about two months after Evangeline ends – a handful at Delta, a couple at Remington. We freshen them up, and going into the second month here things can start to pick up. Hopefully, Saturday can kick-start us.”

Faucheux has one entrant on Thursday’s nine-race card, Cajun Persuasion, one of 11 horses entered in the featured sixth race, a turf sprint restricted to Louisiana-breds and open to first-level allowance horses or $15,000 claimers. Cajun Persuasion is entered under the race’s claiming option and will be among the favorites. A winner in 11 of his 28 career starts, Cajun Persuasion was claimed for $5,000 last March by Faucheux, who co-owns the 6-year-old gelding with Thomas Arnaud. Faucheux moved Cajun Persuasion from dirt to turf and got an excellent summer out of him. He ran in seven grass sprints at Evangeline and Louisiana Downs and won six of them.

Cajun Persuasion was scratched from a similar recent spot at Fair Grounds when his intended race was moved from turf to dirt, and he would probably stay in the barn again Thursday under similar circumstances.

“I haven’t had much success at all on the dirt with him,” Faucheux said. “He doesn’t finish his works as strongly on dirt. He kind of runs in spurts, and he doesn’t have those as much on dirt.”

The concern with Cajun Persuasion is that he’s a front-runner in a race that contains several other pace elements. If the speed melts down, Royality Red Cat could rally effectively.

Meanwhile, Faucheux sent a much higher-class sprinter, Gantry, out for a workout Dec. 16, his first since a second-place finish in the Thanksgiving Handicap. With jockey Richard Eramia up, Gantry went five furlongs in 1:00.60. Faucheux said the horse is being pointed to the Gaudin Stakes on Jan. 26.