01/24/2012 1:36PM

Fair Grounds: Real Power out to show his grass form

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Four-Footed Fotos
Real Power, with Florent Geroux riding, rallies to win the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, his first career victory.

When the Chris Block stable breaks camp in Chicago for the winter, the head trainer remains home while some of his higher-quality stock heads south to Florida and Louisiana.

“Chris doesn’t want to miss his son growing up, so he stays in Chicago,” said Neil Pessin, who has seven of the Block runners at Fair Grounds in New Orleans again this winter.

Pessin relishes the opportunity to work with the kind of stock that Block has under his care. One of those horses is a 3-year-old Illinois-bred gelding named Real Power, whose turf-loving sire, Powerscourt, won one Arlington Million and was disqualified from another. Real Power can claim just 1 victory from 7 career starts, but it was a good one, coming in the Jim Edgar Futurity last month at Hawthorne.

“His win in the stake was over dirt, but we really believe his future is on the grass,” Pessin said earlier this week from New Orleans. “That’s the main reason this horse is here this winter. Hopefully this race Thursday will stay on the grass and we’ll start getting a better gauge on him.”

Real Power, with leading jockey Rosie Napravnik named to ride, is a lukewarm morning-line favorite in the lone allowance on a 10-race Thursday card at Fair Grounds. As many as nine 3-year-olds will start if the $49,000, one-mile race stays on the turf as scheduled, although if it rains, as is always possible in New Orleans at this time of year, the race complexion will shift dramatically, with the favorites becoming main-track-only entrants Gowhereyougaze, Powerpointer, and Sherp.

Real Power, bred and owned by the Virginia H. Tarra Trust, is eligible for the ninth of 10 Thursday races despite having a stakes win to his credit. The race not only has a “one-other-than” condition but also is open to horses who have not won two races and to horses in for a $50,000 claiming price. Real Power was still a maiden when he roared from last to capture the Dec. 10 Futurity at Hawthorne.

Pessin, who began his own career in 1985 and long has overseen a moderate operation, is one of two de facto assistants that Block employs during the winter months. Drew Koontz has a similar number of runners for Block in south Florida.

“I’ve also got Mister Marti Gras, Ioya Bigtime, and a couple of nice 3-year-olds here,” said Pessin. “Our arrangement during the winter works out real well for everybody.”