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Fair Grounds notes: Mylute will wait for Risen Star
By Marcus Hersh
Tour Guide and Mylute are two of the more advanced early season 3-year-olds stabled this winter in New Orleans, but only one of them, at most, will contest the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Saturday, the centerpiece of Fair Grounds’ Road to the Derby Kickoff Day program.
Mylute definitely will not start in the Lecomte, trainer Tom Amoss said. There’s nothing wrong with the colt, but Amoss and owner Gold Mark Farm are taking a more patient approach and pointing instead for the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds.
“Everything is good with him, but we’re planning his races according to what’s best for the rest of the year,” Amoss said.
Mylute last raced Dec. 26, winning a first-level, two-turn allowance race at Fair Grounds by more than 10 lengths over the moderately promising colt General Election. Mylute, a son of Midnight Lute, had an active 2-year-old campaign, racing six times before that allowance-race win, including two autumn starts at Delta Downs, where he was third in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. Amoss said Mylute hasn’t worked since his Fair Grounds victory because of persistent wet conditions and that the colt was scheduled to breeze in coming days.
Tour Guide, a comfortable winner of the minor Sugar Bowl Stakes on Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds, might be cross-entered in Saturday’s Lecomte and the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn on Monday.
“I don’t know yet what we’re going to do,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “My first thought was to find the softest spot, but looking at track problems at Oaklawn, we might enter both places and see how it play out Thursday and Friday at Oaklawn.”
The Oaklawn main track developed a sinkhole Saturday, leading to the cancellation of racing all weekend. Calhoun also noted that the track there was deep and tiring during last week’s racing.
Two barns lose stakes runners
Calhoun and Amoss had an unfortunate further linkage last weekend, with both losing older stakes-quality sprint mares.
Calhoun’s situation was the more severe: The top Louisiana-bred female sprinter Speedacious collapsed and died at the end of a routine gallop Saturday. An autopsy will be performed, Calhoun said, but a heart attack is the suspected cause of death. Six-year-old Speedacious raced for Carl Moore Management and earned more than $570,000 while winning 11 races in her career.
The Amoss-trained Starlite Starbrite was vanned off the track after finishing last Saturday in the Pan Zareta Stakes. She hurt a tendon during the race, but the injury is not life-threatening, and Starlite Starbrite will be sent to Kentucky for broodmare duty, Amoss said.
Proud Strike gets his maiden win
Proud Strike emerged as a 3-year-old colt to watch with a powerful two-turn maiden win in an off-the-turf race Saturday.
A distant third going seven furlongs in his career debut last fall at Churchill, Proud Strike improved second out when he was runner-up in a Churchill route race to the talented colt Bradester. Saturday, sent off as the heavy favorite under Brian Hernandez Jr., Proud Strike won by more than seven lengths while facing nine foes, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.
“I have a lot of hope for him; he won the right way,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Proud Strike, a son of Smart Strike, for Mike McCarty. “He looks like the farther he goes the better, and he stretches out really nice. He’s changed a lot with his three races.”
Asmussen said Proud Strike was likely to make his next start in a stakes race at Fair Grounds or Oaklawn.
“It will be about timing and how he looks out of his race,” he said. “There are plenty of options.”
Daisy Devine starting year
Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine will begin her 5-year-old campaign the way she ended her 4-year-old season – in an ungraded turf stakes at Fair Grounds.
Trainer Andrew McKeever said Daisy Devine was an intended starter in the $75,000 Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap on Saturday.
“She’s doing great, so all being well, she’ll run,” McKeever said.
Daisy Devine won the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley last April at Keeneland and has that race on her spring schedule again this year. In her most recent start, the Dec. 22 Blushing K.D., Daisy Devine turned in an awesome performance, winning by six lengths while eased across the wire. Her Beyer Speed Figure of 105 was the highest earned by a female turf runner in 2012.
String King to try a jump up
String King will try and make the jump from Louisiana-bred to graded turf stakes competition in the Grade 3 Colonel Bradley Handicap on Saturday.
Winner of the Mr. Sulu and Louisiana Champions Day Turf earlier in the meet, String King has returned to Fair Grounds after getting a freshening at the River Point Equestrian and Training Center near Shreveport, La. Charlie Smith, String King’s owner, breeder, and trainer, sent String King back to Fair Grounds on Jan. 11, and String King worked a half-mile Sunday in 49.20 seconds.
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