12/14/2007 12:00AM

Flying Zombo must overcome almost-itis

EmailNEW ORLEANS - Flying Zombo fits in this company. The problem is he seems to prefer staying in this company, as he tries for the fourth time on Sunday to become an allowance winner, a $40,000 first-level race at 1 1/16 miles on the turf carded as the ninth race.

Flying Zombo has run three turf allowance routes, coming home third twice before holding on for second last time out. His last race, Nov. 24 on the turf at the Fair Grounds, featured five of the horses running in Sunday's race.

Three of them finished within a length of each other, with Flying Zombo nosing out Fifty Five for second place. It was another neck back to Bagoga.

"Up until the last race we questioned his desire, but he faced a tough horse and ran gamely," said trainer Tom Amoss. "He's shortening up. I'm sure he'll run the same style of race, looking to finish."

Also looking to close again will be Fifty Five. He'll have a half-furlong less with which to work.

"He's a monster of a horse," said trainer Walter Bindner. "He's huge. His pedigree is slow-developing. He was like a 15-year-old-kid out there with adults."

With many of the other horses familiar with each other, Warn brings a new element to the game. He is coming off a six-week layoff, and trainer Ronny Werner is hoping he will run back to the form he showed three races ago while winning a maiden special weight at Saratoga.

"He's going to have to step up," said Werner. "He had the time off just because I couldn't get him in a race at Churchill."

Three DQs on Thursday

Thursday was an unusually busy day for the race stewards at the Fair Grounds. With four inquiries resulting in three disqualifications, the stewards' role was prominent in the race results.

In the fourth race, the stewards disqualified Have Mercy on Me from first to second place after he drifted into We Want It All, who was awarded the victory.

In the seventh race, Lexy's Taxiano was disqualified from first to third for interference in the stretch, giving My Bakari the victory.

And in the feature race, the 10th, Mr. Nightlinger was disqualified from first to third after drifting into the path of Truelyonbroadway in the stretch. Jockey James Graham checked Truelyonbroadway, possibly costing him second place.

The disqualification meant that runner-up Demarcation was declared the winner and Truelyonboadway was placed second while Mr. Nightlinger was put back to third place.

While the other decisions seemed fairly straightforward, the disqualification in the 10th was much discussed, and conversations continued on the backstretch into the next day.

"Obviously we were pretty disappointed," said Bret Calhoun, trainer of Mr. Nightlinger. "I don't know the purpose of disqualifying a horse if it doesn't alter the outcome of the race. I thought my horse drifted out and was clear. We had already put him away."

When reached Friday, the stewards had no comment, citing pending conversations and review of video with the concerned jockeys on Saturday.

Theriot in front at home track

After three weeks of racing, Jamie Theriot finds himself atop the jockey standings. His meet began well; after driving all night from Kentucky, he rode two winners on Nov. 24 and has stayed hot through the first weeks, riding 19 winners from 70 mounts.

He returned to New Orleans after his first time riding regularly on the Kentucky circuit, and the connections he made there have proved helpful.

"I think going to Kentucky was a big plus for me," said Theriot. "The guys I rode for in Kentucky, most of them come to the Fair Grounds. So I'm able to keep a lot of my business."

In addition to riding regularly in Kentucky for the first time, Theriot changed agents, beginning to work with Fred Aime. "Picking up Fred last year, that was a big plus. We work well together," Theriot said.

While he did well in Kentucky, finishing sixth at the Churchill fall meet, the Breaux Bridge, La., native was glad to come back to the Fair Grounds.

"I was ready to come back," Theriot said. "I've been coming here all my life. I think it's a good circuit. And I get to see other trainers that don't go to Kentucky."

Perrodin recuperating at home

Jockey E.J. Perrodin, who was injured during pre-race warm-ups on Nov. 23, has moved home to Shreveport and has begun rehabilitation. His injuries included a cracked pelvis, which required surgery.

He was moved by ambulance from New Orleans Shreveport.

"He's doing good," said agent Tony Martin. "He's on the road to recovery. He's at his house in Shreveport with his wife and family."

If the rehabilitation goes according to schedule, Perrodin is planning to resume riding when Louisiana Downs opens for racing in May, according to Martin.