01/11/2012 1:54PM

Fair Grounds: One step at a time for Radiant Talent

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Steve Margolis has been thinking about giving Radiant Talent a chance at two turns. Or in a stakes race. But not both at the same time.

Radiant Talent, a 3-year-old Johannesburg colt, earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure of 89 when he romped to victory in a Dec. 17 maiden sprint at Fair Grounds, and the double whammy of stretching out and stepping up in class loomed a possibility with the Jan. 21 LeComte Stakes at the New Orleans track. For the time being, however, Margolis is resisting, and instead the colt figures to be a solid favorite when he tries first-level allowance sprinters Friday at Fair Grounds.

“He’s run well every time,” Margolis said. “He’s a nice one, and I’d like to try him in a stake, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Let’s see how he does in this ‘other-than’ and go from there.”

Radiant Talent, with Shaun Bridgmohan to ride, was assigned the outside post in the eighth of 10 Friday races, a $49,000, six-furlong allowance that drew six 3-year-olds. Bred and owned by Martin Cherry, the colt will be making his fourth lifetime start, having run second in back-to-back maiden races at the Churchill Downs fall meet to start his career.

Another last-out maiden winner, Mark Valeski (post 5, C.J. McMahon), looks like a threat to Radiant Talent, as does the Steve Asmussen-trained Seeker (post 2, Robby Albarado), who competed without much success in three straight stakes after earning a 95 Beyer Figure on closing weekend of the Saratoga meet.

Margolis and Bridgmohan also figure as major players in an earlier allowance on the Friday card, another $49,000, first-level sprint (race 3) that drew six older fillies and mares. They will team with Grand Illumination, most recently second in a similar spot on Dec. 23 at Fair Grounds when she made her second start since being claimed for a mere $15,000 at Keeneland in October. Grand Illumination also was assigned the favorable outside post.

“She looks pretty live in this spot,” said Margolis. “After she won at Churchill for maiden-$15,000, we thought we’d take a shot at this level, and she tried real hard. Hopefully she’s going to prove she’s worth more than what we took her for.”

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. Next Friday, Jan. 20, will be one of those twilight cards.