02/13/2014 4:13PM

Fair Grounds: No standouts in Gentilly Stakes

Coady Photography
Mypalcharliebrown comes up a neck short of the undefeated Ide Be Cool in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes at Delta Downs.

Look At the Time looked like a mild standout before he won the 2012 Gentilly Stakes, and Sunbean stuck out like a sore thumb when he won the race in 2013, but there are no such Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds among the eight entrants in the $60,000 Gentilly this year.

Saturday’s race – co-featured on the card with the $60,000 Sarah Lane’s Oates for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies – contains exactly zero turf winners, and five of the horses entered will be making their grass debuts, provided the Saturday races remain on turf.

And this group is light even on dirt accomplishment, with no stakes winners and only one horse, H and F’s Sensation, who has won more than a maiden race. Two horses, B and B’s Pulpit and Lori’s Darling, still are maidens, and it speaks to the competitive nature of the Gentilly that neither of them can comfortably be eliminated.

The turf-debuting Mypalcharliebrown rates a narrow edge in the Gentilly, where he faces softer competition than he’s met in three of his four starts. Mypalcharliebrown debuted in a fast Arlington Polytrack maiden sprint and cleared the maiden ranks second out with a two-turn romp at Delta Downs. He then ran into Ide Be Cool, the excellent undefeated Louisiana-bred 3-year-old, in the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy at Delta, and into a sharp Roman Unbridled in the open $75,000 Big Drama Stakes there Jan. 4.

Mypalcharliebrown, trained by Leo Gabriel, came within a neck of Ide Be Cool, far closer than any other horse has gotten to Ide Be Cool in his five starts. Mypalcharliebrown is a grandson of Indian Charlie and Exbourne, suggesting he might take to turf, and he has raced around two turns three times now, experience in route racing that could serve him well in the Gentilly.

Youve Got a Friend, another first-time turfer, easily won a two-turn Fair Grounds maiden race in his most recent start and has turned in decent-to-good performances in all five of his starts. He might take to turf, but that – like handicapping the Gentilly in general – is just a guess.

The Gentilly’s sister race, the Sarah Lane’s Oates, is not much easier to figure, though trainer Danny Pish holds a decent hand. Glamoride finished second by a half-length to returning rival Artist Cry in a first-level Louisiana-bred turf allowance race Jan. 20 at Fair Grounds, and Pish’s other filly, Suaveberry, might have an even better chance. Suaveberry was a fifth-start maiden winner Jan. 30 in an off-the-turf route race, but she has endured tough trips in two of her three grass races and showed a fine turn of foot in her third such start.

Artist Cry debuted with a sixth-place finish in a $25,000 maiden-claiming dirt sprint, but that proved a mere warm-up for her move to turf, where she has won consecutive starts over the Fair Grounds course for trainer Wes Hawley and jockey James Graham. Artist Cry was unlucky at the Sarah Lane’s Oates draw, however, landing the outside stall in a 10-horse field.

The Gentilly is carded as race 3 at 2:24 Central, while the Sarah Lane’s Oates is race 7 at 4:28.