12/07/2012 4:59PM

Fair Grounds notes: After 50 years, Spanky Broussard runs out of horses

Barbara D. Livingston
Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can worked three furlongs for trainer Larry Jones this week.

For the first time since 1960, Spanky Broussard, a Fair Grounds Hall of Famer, isn’t caring for horses at his hometown track.

“Been training horses 50 years and can’t find a horse to train,” said Broussard, 71.

It’s strange not to see him at the barn midway down the backstretch.

“I moved in that barn when it was brand new in 1965 with Tennessee Wright and was in there with Dewey Smith,” said Broussard, who worked as an assistant for those trainers and for J.R. Smith. Wright and both Smiths are in the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame.

Broussard said he took over the barn when he went out on his own with a public stable in 1969. From 8,542 starts, he won 1,039 races, including the New Orleans Handicap in 1977 with Tudor Tambourine.

But Broussard hasn’t saddled a horse since the last Fair Grounds meet ended in March.

“When the meet was over, I didn’t know I was out of horses,” he said.

He’s still involved with racing as an agent for Sallee Horse Vans. Broussard, who said he has worked in the horse-shipping business for 36 years, recalled winning a Fair Grounds stakes race with Book of Kings years ago and “shipping a load of horses right after that.”

He still wants to train and said he has been trying to find some horses.

His search hasn’t been successful. Now, signs advertising that his tack is for sale are posted in the racing office and clockers’ stand.

Jones works his stakes stars

Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can and Peter Pan winner Mark Valeski pleased trainer Larry Jones in recent workouts.

Believe You Can, who hasn’t raced since finishing third in the Mother Goose in June, worked three furlongs Monday in 37.20 seconds.

“It was just a leg-stretcher,” Jones said. “Actually, she worked a quarter and galloped out three-eighths. But it was fast enough to get an official work. She’ll be ready for down here.”

Last season at the Fair Grounds, Believe You Can won the Fair Grounds Oaks and Silverbulletday.

On Thursday, Mark Valeski, working in the same manner, was timed in 36.20. Rosie Napravnik was aboard for both works.

Mark Valeski, who finished second in the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby last season at the Fair Grounds, hasn’t raced since winning the Peter Pan in May and having minor knee surgery. A small chip – Jones called it “a flake” – was removed.

“He’s doing really good,” Jones said.

The trainer is doing well, too, having won with four of his first seven starters at the meet.

Malibu Holiday to try again

Malibu Holiday, who nearly won a first-level turf allowance race on opening day, will compete at the same level and about 7 1/2-furlong distance Sunday in a full field of older fillies and mares.

On Nov. 22, Malibu Holiday rallied from far back and surged to the lead in midstretch before finishing second to Divine Loretta by a half-length. Malibu Holiday, who was making her first start since being claimed Oct. 18 for $20,000 at Belmont Park by owner-trainer William Heffner, went off at 24-1 in her Fair Grounds debut. She’ll likely be among the favorites Sunday. James Graham will ride.

The race caps a nine-race card. Fair Grounds extended entry time from Thursday to Friday because the races initially didn’t draw an adequate number of entries.

* Jockey Ramsey Zimmerman returned to riding Dec. 1 after being cleared by Fair Grounds stewards. He injured his back in late October at Delta Downs, the stewards said, and had to appear before them to clarify his physical status.

* Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine, who won the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs in her last start, worked a half-mile in 51.40 on Wednesday in her first workout since arriving in New Orleans.