02/01/2012 12:52PM

Fair Grounds: Mississippi shares spotlight with Louisiana


Louisiana-breds and the Mississippi racing community get their due Friday at Fair Grounds. Three-year-olds who comply with the bylaws of the South Mississippi Owners and Breeders Association get a rare opportunity to run for a $40,000 purse, while far more accomplished Louisiana-breds will vie for a $45,000 pot about an hour later.

Race 5 on the 11-race card, the South Mississippi Owners and Breeders at six furlongs on the dirt, drew a field of 10, albeit with only seven betting interests, while race 7, a high-end restricted race scheduled for a mile on the turf, attracted some of the better Louisiana-breds currently in training, with Kissimmee Kyle and Wildrally being among the field of seven older horses.

The South Mississippi, given its restrictions, often is won by a maiden, or at least a horse not far removed from that condition. The field for the 2012 running actually seems above par, with winners such as Raiseanothergator, Validfromthegitgo, Surley, and Hudson’s Creed having been entered. Of those, Validfromthegitgo might come a slight favorite with Robby Albarado, mostly because he is a two-time winner already with a restricted stakes triumph to his credit, and his Beyer Speed Figures are as good as any of the others.

Three stable couplings (1-1a, 2-2b, and 3-3c) have cut down on the number of available wagering interests in the South Mississippi.

As for race 7, trainer Al Stall Jr. said he was glad to grab a little class relief on behalf of Kissimmee Kyle, whose regular domain has been the Louisiana-bred stakes ranks for most of his career. The last time Kissimmee Kyle ran in an allowance race such as this, he was third as the favorite, but that race last March was rained off the turf, and Stall long has maintained that Kissimmee Kyle does his best work on grass.

Albarado has the mount on Kissimmee Kyle, who was assigned post 1. His main challenger and familiar rival, Wildrally, gets leading rider Rosie Napravnik when breaking nearby in post 3. Wildrally, trained by Ed Johnston Jr., has fared respectably in the handful of times he has clashed with Kissimmee Kyle over the last year or so.

First post Friday is 12:40 p.m. Central, as opposed to the 5 p.m. twilight post that is being used on the occasional Friday this winter. The next one of those twilight cards comes next Friday, Feb. 10.