03/12/2011 8:01PM

Fair Grounds: Ravi's Song proves chip off the old block in New Orleans Ladies

Lou Hodges Jr.
Ravi's Song (right), with Corey Lanerie, holds off Stage Magic to win the New Orleans Ladies.

Around the last turn of the century, Lu Ravi won three stakes races in New Orleans, including the Fair Grounds Oaks. Her daughter, Ravi’s Song, is making like mama.

Five-year-old Ravi’s Song, the first horse produced by Lu Ravi to show much on the racetrack, won the $98,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes on Saturday by 1 1/2 lengths, using the same kind of flashy stretch run she employed capturing the Pelleteri Stakes on Feb. 12 at Fair Grounds.

“It’s pretty easy when you’re sitting on a lot of horse,” said winning rider Corey Lanerie. “I just had to drive. I didn’t have to do a whole lot of riding.”

Lanerie is being too modest. Racing near the back of a seven-horse field, Ravi’s Song was beginning to move up past a half-mile in a slow 49.57 seconds when Mayhaw and Third Dawn closed off a hole and Ravi’s Song found herself at the back of the pack again. Lanerie didn’t panic. Waiting patiently into the stretch, he found room along the fence when Mayhaw came out at the top of the lane. Ravi’s Song has a stretch kick on dirt that looks like a turf horse accelerating, and now Lanerie asked his mount for it. Whipping quickly into action, Ravi’s Song rallied along the rail, coming out to pass pace-setting Fighter Wing and run down State Magic, who had taken the lead at the stretch call.

Ravi’s Song’s morning works left her trainer, Carl Bowman, prepared for the powerful stretch performance.

“After she blew out, I knew she was locked and loaded,” Bowman said. “I thought she could overcome any pace scenario.”

Bowman, who also trained Lu Ravi and Lu Ravi’s dam, At the Half, conditions Ravi’s Song for Miyoko Fujita. Yoshio Fujita, Lu Ravi’s owner, bred the horse. Bowman said after the race that the Fujitas were not directly affected by the Japanese earthquake this week.

Stage Magic, a 15-1 shot, was clearly second-best, finishing almost five lengths ahead of Fighter Wing, who was followed by Third Dawn, Patience Drive. Mayhaw, and Dundalk Dust. Dundalk Dust, the 7-5 favorite making her first start since winning the Falls City Handicap in November, never was a factor and checked in more than five lengths behind the sixth-place finisher.

Great Mills proved uncatchable in the $59,400 Grindstone Stakes after being allowed to set a walking pace while racing alone on the lead.

Great Mills set splits of 26.29 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 51.29 for the half, and 1:16.25 for six furlongs while unopposed. He came to the stretch call with four lengths on his nearest pursuer, and had enough left to withstand a good late run from Willcox Inn, who finished second, one length behind the winner, while racing for the first time since a third-place finish in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Trained by Steve Asmussen for Millennium Farms, and ridden to victory by Shane Sellers, Great Mills paid $20 while winning his third in a row. Mavericking finished third, the top three well in front of the rest of the field.