12/13/2012 2:49PM

Fair Grounds: McGee pair of Worldly and Majestic Harbor both rate shot in Tenacious

Tom Keyser
Apart makes his first start in the Tenacious since being gelded.

The most interesting older horse in the barn of Paul McGee, Churchill Downs track-record-setter Infrattini, is slated to race next month in the Louisiana Handicap. But McGee has depth in the dirt-route ranks and entered two other horses in the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap, the Saturday feature at Fair Grounds. McGee plans to start Worldly and Majestic Harbor. Both horses rate a chance in the 1 1/16-mile Tenacious – as do five of the other seven entrants in a truly wide-open race.

Worldly makes his second start following a layoff occasioned by a fractured hind cannon bone that he sustained last Fair Grounds meet in the Louisiana Handicap. Worldly hinted at graded-stakes-class ability early in his career, but had settled in as a listed-stakes-level performer before getting hurt. His comeback race Nov. 17 at Churchill in a third-level allowance race produced a close second-place finish, a performance upon which McGee thinks the 5-year-old Worldly can build.

“It was a big race from him, and he came out of it really good,” McGee said. “I think he probably needed that race and got a lot out of it.”

Majestic Harbor has been racing steadily throughout 2012 and has less chance than Worldly to improve on his November form at Churchill, where he most recently rallied for a distant second-place finish in Infrattini’s one-mile track-record performance. But Majestic Harbor is a year younger than Worldly and has a fondness for Fair Grounds, where he has a win and two seconds.

Apart, the 120-pound highweight, races for the first time since being gelded, trainer Al Stall reports, an alteration that his connections hope might propel Apart back toward the graded-stakes-level form he showed through a third-place finish in the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap. Since that race, Apart has a second, a fifth, two sixths, and a ninth, and he was kept in Louisiana this year rather than going north with Stall’s Kentucky and New York strings.

“It never seemed like a soundness issue with him,” said Stall, who has gotten six recent works into Apart in advance of Saturday’s start.

It Happened Again won the Claiming Crown Jewel the last time he raced at Fair Grounds, and his third-place finish Nov. 3 in the Mountaineer Mile marked his first start since July, suggesting It Happened Again can improve Saturday. And finally, there are the two-three finishers from the Nov. 17 Delta Mile, Brethren and Hurricane Ike. Brethren might appreciate the longer distance he gets to run Saturday, and while Hurricane Ike will be pushing his distance limitations, he has a chance to control a moderate pace from an inside draw.

“He’s going to go out and try to slow it down,” trainer Mike Stidham said.

What happens from there isn’t easy to envision – much like the Tenacious itself.