Updated on 03/23/2012 4:05PM

Fair Grounds: Inspired will have to cope with other speed

Bob Coglianese
Inspired, John Velazquez up, wins the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream.

Two trainers handle six of the 10 entrants in the $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes, the featured ninth race on Saturday at Fair Grounds, and a tag-team approach from these outfits might be enough to make favored Inspired vulnerable in the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint.

And Inspired, from the look of things, will take some beating.

A 5-year-old Unbridled’s Song mare, based in Florida with trainer Allen Iwinski, she has turned in back-to-back bang-up performances. The first of them came when Inspired was shipped to Fair Grounds for the Jan. 21 Pan Zareta Stakes, which Inspsired won in gate-to-wire fashion, breaking from post 10 and making a clear lead while staying wide and on the better part of the Fair Grounds turf course. March 4, Inspired was equally impressive, setting a fast pace on the way to a one-length win in the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

But in the Happy Ticket, Inspired might have to work harder to make the lead. Drawn inside her is Speedacious, a 5-year-old mare unproven on turf, but definitely capable of keeping up with Inspired in the early part of the Happy Ticket. Speedacious is one of three entrants in the race trained by Bret Calhoun, who also entered Fast Tip and Gran Lioness. Gran Lioness bumped and clipped heels going into the turn in the Pan Zareta, and she didn’t finish, but she, too, has ample early speed. Calhoun’s third, Fast Tip, was a good-looking winner of a third-level dirt-sprint allowance in her most recent race, and figures to be placed in mid-pack Saturday.

The other trainer with three entrants is Mike Stidham, and while his trio doesn’t pack the top-to-bottom firepower of Calhoun’s, the mare Lady Chesterfield might have a chance at long odds. She rallied from eighth to win a second-level allowance race on March 3 in her Fair Grounds debut, and if the Stidham-trained Bloemer Girl, drawn just outside Inspired, proves fast enough to push the early tempo, the front-runners might fade enough for Lady Chesterfield to get into the picture.

Drawn on the rail is Wild About Marie, who suffered her first Fair Grounds turf-course loss in five starts when she finished a closing second to Inspired in the Pan Zareta. Wild About Marie has posted only one moderate half-mile work the last two months, but her best race – and some help up front with Inspired – could send her back to the winner’s circle.

Speedy debut winner back

In the race following the Happy Ticket, Bourbon Courage makes his first start since a dazzling debut victory on Feb. 3 at Fair Grounds, when he won a maiden race by 4 1/4 lengths. Bourbon Courage’s fast six-furlong time of 1:09.28 produced a Beyer Speed Figure of 103, among the best in the country for a 3-year-old this year.

Bourbon Courage, trainer Kellyn Gorder said last month, had a minor setback following a Feb. 17 workout. A Lion Heart colt, he has since worked twice and is set to face six opponents in a first-level allowance at six furlongs in which he should be heavily favored.

Top 3-year-old Beyers, 2012

Horse Date, Track Condition Beyer
Algorithms Jan29-GP Holy Bull-G3 105
Bourbon Courage Feb3-FG MdSpWt 103
Secret Circle Feb20-OP Southwest-G3 102
Creative Cause Mar10-SA San Felipe-G2 102
Reneesgotzip Jan15-SA f-Santa Ynez-G2 101
Bodemeister Feb11-SA MdSpWt 101
Mamma Kimbo Feb18-SA MdSpWt 101
Scatman Feb20-OP Southwest-G3 101
Bodemeister Mar10-SA San Felipe-G2 101
El Padrino Jan29-GP Holy Bull-G3 100