02/15/2013 3:44PM

Fair Grounds: Graydar and Bourbon Courage may meet again in New Orleans Handicap

Barbara D. Livingston
Donn winner Graydar is owned by a Louisiana-based partnership and is under consideration for the New Orleans Handicap.

NEW ORLEANS – Graydar and Bourbon Courage, who ran one-two in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park, might be headed toward a rematch in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 30 at the Fair Grounds.

Graydar, whose ownership group – Twin Creeks Racing Stables – has Louisiana connections, likely will run next in that race, said Twin Creeks managing partner Steve Davison.

“That’s the target,” said Davison, an attorney from Ruston, La.

The New Orleans Handicap would be a “logical spot” for Bourbon Courage, trainer Kellyn Gorder said Thursday, two days after the colt returned to his Fair Grounds base from Gulfstream Park.

“He loves this track,” Gorder said of the possibility of running Bourbon Courage in the New Orleans Handicap. “He wouldn’t have to travel.”

Davison said he was thrilled with the performance of Graydar, a 4-year-old Unbridled’s Song colt trained by Todd Pletcher who led all the way to win the 1 1/8-mile Donn by three lengths while making his fourth career start.

“This horse has done a lot of starting and stopping,” Davison said. “He’s probably better than ever right now. We’d never won a Grade 1. Mission Impazible lost two photos in Grade 1s.”

Mission Impazible, a Twin Creeks runner who won the Louisiana Derby in 2010 and New Orleans Handicap in 2011, both Grade 2 races, lost the Grade 1 Stephen Foster by a neck to Pool Play in 2011 and lost the Donn by a nose to Hymn Book last year.

Four partners, including Hall of Fame quarterback and Louisiana native Terry Bradshaw, are in the Twin Creeks group that owns Graydar, Davison said.

Davison said that a rematch with Bourbon Courage at the Fair Grounds would be a tough race.

“He ran a really good race also,” Davison said of Bourbon Courage. “He’s also going to be a major player among the older horses. The Fair Grounds might suit him a little bit better also.”

Bourbon Courage, a 4-year-old Lion Heart colt, made his 2013 debut in the Donn. He raced in mid-pack early before rallying to finish a clear second, five lengths in front of third-place Take Charge Indy.

“I’m really proud of the way the horse ran,” Gorder said. “I thought he ran a big race. I thought it was his best performance so far. I think he’s really ready to step forward again.”

Bourbon Courage has finished in the money in Grade 1 races in his last two starts, having closed his 2012 season with a third-place finish in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

On Thursday morning, Bourbon Courage went to the track for the first time since the Donn.

“He was great, really good,” said Evan Downing, Gorder’s assistant at the Fair Grounds. “He bounced back pretty well.”

The 1 1/8-mile New Orleans Handicap, the Fair Grounds’s premier race for older horses, will be part of the Louisiana Derby Day card.