12/31/2012 7:23PM

Fair Grounds: Sunbean, Sittin At the Bar take divisions of Louisiana Futurity

Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Sunbean (right), ridden by Colby Hernandez, holds off Heitai to win a division of the Louisiana Futurity in a quick 1:10.68 for six furlongs.

Last month, on Louisiana Champions Day, the filly Sittin At the Bar stole the thunder, capturing the Lassie in more impressive - not to mention far faster – fashion than the Juvenile. But on Monday, in two divisions of the Louisiana Futurity, roles were reversed, with Sunbean’s victory in the colts and geldings division of the Futurity outshining Sittin At the Bar’s more workmanlike win in the fillies division.

Sunbean, beaten a nose in his career debut Dec. 8 at Fair Grounds, made an early lead, was forced into a very hot pace, got a stretch-long challenge from the more experienced horse Heitai, and still pushed on to prevail by a half-length in a gallant performance. His winning time of 1:10.68 for the six furlongs easily bested that of Sittin At the Bar, who had clocked 1:11.46 two races earlier on the card.

Sunbean, trained by Al Stall and ridden to victory by Colby Hernandez, is the latest in a long line of successful racehorses produced by the mare X Strawdnair. Four of his six siblings to race have won stakes, and another earned more than $141,000 in a 14-start career. The Brittlyn Stable of Maurice and Evelyn Benoit bred and own Sunbean, a son of Brahms. Sunbean paid $6.60 to win as the 2-1 favorite. Nubin Ridge finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Heitai in the $105,615 race.

Sittin At the Bar, meanwhile, was racing just 23 days after a sharp blowout victory on Champions Day, and her trainer, Brett Brinkham, had thought long and hard about the wisdom of running Sittin At the Bar back on short rest. There was far less pace in front of Sittin At the Bar ($2.60) in Monday’s $105,615 filly division of the Futurity (the half-mile split was a tepid 46.92 seconds), a circumstance that certainly diluted Sittin At the Bar’s finishing kick. And unlike the Lassie, where she overpowered her competition coming into the stretch, Sittin At the Bar still was third at the stretch call this time.

But she and jockey Mark Guidry got the job done, pulling away in the final furlong to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Brinkman, who trains Sittin At the Bar for owner P. Dale Ladner, also sent out the runner-up, I Dare U Em, who earned the place by a nose over pace-setting Taralicious.