11/24/2008 12:00AM

Foreign Production impresses again


Part of the deal was that Foreign Production won the $60,000 Old Hickory Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but Foreign Production's sharp score also probably produced a strong favorite for the Dec. 13 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. We might well take things even one step farther: Since his tough-trip fifth first time out, no horse has gotten near Foreign Production in three races, and the colt looks like a pretty nice 2-year-old.

Trained for the Foxwood Plantation by James Hodges, Foreign Production won a Louisiana Downs maiden race by almost three lengths in his second start, then captured a division of the Louisiana Stallion Stakes there on Oct. 18 by more than six lengths. Making his first start since then, Foreign Production pranced through the post parade on his toes, and quickly took the fight to heavily favored Forty Thieves.

Forty Thieves, trainer Steve Klesaris's first starter of the Fair Grounds meet, broke second from the fence and soon made the lead under Cisco Torres. But Foreign Production and jockey Lonnie Meche stayed glued to his flank through a quarter-mile in 22.33 seconds, and a half in 45.65. Forty Thieves wilted not far into the interminable Fair Grounds stretch, but Foreign Production ran on nicely, finishing 2o3/4 lengths in front of Bertsgoldenmissile, who ran from midpack. Screen Your Friend closed mildly for third, with Forty Thieves fading to fifth.

The winner, by the little-known stallion Run Production, paid $21.80 to win, and was timed in 1:04.84 for 5 1/2 furlongs.

Pontalba: C Karma up in time

It was no surprise to see C Karma drop straight back to last after the start of the $60,000 Pontalba Stakes. The 2-year-old filly last had raced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, a two-turn one-mile grass race, and now she was in a 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint. Strategy from there was fairly simple: Stay wide and out of trouble, then hope the speed would back up.

That worked. Coming on steadily through the final quarter-mile under Brian Hernandez, CoKarma finally made the lead in the last couple strides, getting up to win over A Day for Dancing, the longer priced of the two Steve Asmussen-trained horses in the Pontalba.

The Asmussen-trained favorite, Tiffany Royal, made the early lead, but had to fight for it with longshot Catarina Ranch. Tiffany Royal actually was the first to cave, with Catarina Ranch staying on decently for third, but by the eighth pole the race had been left to the closers. A Day for Dancing looked like the one in the final sixteenth, but C Karma made the last move, scoring by a neck.

C Karma, previously trained by Gregory de Gannes, was sent out in the Pontalba by her owner, Pamela Edel, who was listed as trainer Saturday. Going into the race, Edel had failed to win with five starters in 2008.

C Karma, a Grade 3 winner in Canada, paid $10.20 to win, and was timed in 1:05.70 on a fast track. One would assume Edel would have designs on longer upcoming Fair Grounds stakes, such as the Tiffany Lass in January.