03/16/2013 5:29PM

Fair Grounds: Icon Ike wins Colonel Power; Extravaganza takes Happy Ticket

Lou Hodges Jr.
Icon Ike won the $73,500 Colonel Power Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday.

Icon Ike loves the Fair Grounds turf course, and he won his fourth race from six starts over the local lawn Saturday, capturing the $73,500 Colonel Power Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths.

The win was impressive and, coupled with the general arc of Icon Ike’s form, left the sense that the 4-year-old Icon Ike could take his New Orleans turf-sprint act to bigger stages later this year.

Granted, Icon Ike got an ideal setup in the 5 1/2-furlong Colonel Power, the race playing out on the track exactly as it appeared on paper, with Sum of the Parts and Comisky’s Humor dueling on a furious pace. The leading pair set splits of 21.34 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.34 for the first half, a killing pace on a firm but slow-playing course.

Icon Ike had the tiring speed in his sights as he cut the corner and turned for home. James Graham, riding Icon Ike for the first time, switched from the inside track to the outside after turning into the homestretch. Icon Ike struck the front just past the stretch call and continued willingly to the wire, stopping the timer in a good 1:03.86.

Icon Ike’s win might not have been so convincing had the race gone better for Chamberlain Bridge. The 9-year-old Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner reared at the start and, after three furlongs, still trailed the leaders by more than 15 lengths. He closed strongly but was too late even to catch 29-1 runner-up Billy Two Hats, who was fortunate to rally mildly for second.

Behind Chamberlain Bridge came Canuletmedowneasy, Comisky’s Humor, China, and Sum of the Parts, who was done in by the hot pace in his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Icon Ike paid $7.80 to win as the second choice, winning his second straight turf-sprint stakes. Icon Ike, a homebred son of Yes It’s True and Robbie’s Gal owned by Fletcher and Carolyn Gray, won for the seventh time in 16 races and sports an excellent 9-6-1-1 record in turf sprints. His next start could come in the Shakertown Stakes on April 13 at Keelenand, assistant trainer Cindy Jones said.

Happy Ticket: Extravaganza by a nose

When she doesn’t race in a turf sprint at Fair Grounds, Extravanganza has won once in eight starts. But in Fair Grounds one-turn turf races, the 6-year-old mare has been unbeatable. On Saturday, she ran her local grass record to 4 for 4 with a narrow win in the $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes.

Extravaganza, with Richard Eramia up, squeezed through a narrow gap in the final furlong and nipped the pacesetting Storm’s Promise to win by a nose, with Monono another half-length behind in third. The top three finishers all were part of a stewards’ inquiry into the stretch run, which saw Going to Kukaro checked back to second-last, but no change was made to the order of finish.

An Elusive Quality mare co-bred and owned by Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm, Extravaganza has made only 12 starts early into her 6-year-old campaign, her career interrupted by a layoff of one year between the fall of 2010 and the fall of 2011. Extravaganza went unraced between July and Feb. 17, when she won a Fair Grounds turf-sprint allowance, before notching her first stakes victory in the Happy Ticket.

“Mr. Hancock is always great about giving horses the time they need,” said winning trainer Mike Stidham. “It worked out for this filly.”

Extravaganza paid $7.20 to win and was timed in 1:03.96. Storm’s Promise, an 11-1 shot, held gamely but could not quite see out the victory. Same Cross, a winner of her first three starts, failed to show her best in her turf debut, checking in a one-paced fifth.