01/30/2013 12:54PM

Fair Grounds: Sunbean takes the next step as he stretches out in distance

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Sunbean (right) wins the Louisiana Futurity for statebreds in his second career start.

Al Stall Jr. is quite the realist and therefore knows how highly improbable it would be for a 3-year-old named Sunbean to closely follow in the revered Louisiana-bred footsteps of the retired Star Guitar.

“I’d love to tell you he’s going to make a million-eight,” said Stall, exaggerating only a little regarding the $1,749,862 earned by Star Guitar. “But I’d say the odds are against that happening.”

Nonetheless, Stall said he and owner-breeder Evelyn Benoit are very eager to see just how much ground Sunbean can cover – both literally and figuratively – toward the lofty standards established by Star Guitar, who ran his final race last June. Sunbean will stretch out for the first time after opening his career in flashy fashion when he is favored Friday night at Fair Grounds in a $41,000 first-level allowance at a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

“He’s a really nice horse,” said Stall. “He’s solid, looks great, moves great, does everything right. Obviously we want to see how far he can go. Some of that family [on his dam’s side] was known as sprinters. So we’ll see how he stretches Friday night.”

Sunbean, with Colby Hernandez to ride from post 6, is one of nine statebreds in the eighth of 10 races on a “Starlight Racing” program that begins at 5 p.m. Central. Post time for the eighth is 8:43.

Sunbean has had two races, both coming in December over six furlongs at the New Orleans track. He was beaten a nose in a maiden race, earning an 80 Beyer Speed Figure, then won the Louisiana Futurity as a maiden when slightly favored, getting an 88 Beyer.

Two races earlier, the only other allowance on the card (race 6, 7:37) attracted a lightly raced colt named General Election, the distant runner-up to the highly regarded Mylute in his last appearance, as well as another promising Stall trainee, Departing.

Trained by Kellyn Gorder, General Election will have leading jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard when he breaks from post 1, while Departing gets Brian Hernandez Jr. and post 5. Five other 3-year-olds are entered in the $47,000 first-level race, which does not carry a statebred restriction and also goes at a mile and 70 yards.

General Election adds blinkers Friday in his third career start, while Departing will be stretching out from a six-furlong debut triumph in which he earned a field-high 82 Beyer.