02/24/2011 4:31PM

Forest Uproar must deal with swifter pace in LaCombe


One thing is virtually certain in the $60,000 Lacombe Handicap on Saturday at Fair Grounds: Forest Uproar will have to adapt to a faster pace.

Forest Upoar’s last start came Jan. 29 in the Marie Krantz Handicap, like the Lacombe a turf stakes for fillies and mares. It only looked like the timer was broken. Subsequent hand-timing confirmed that the factions in the Krantz, nearly 29 seconds for the first quarter-mile and about 56 seconds for the opening half, were accurate. Forest Uproar pressed what pace there was and won easily, her third straight victory. That win streak could well run to four in the 1 1/16-mile Lacombe, one of three stakes on an interesting 10-race card.

Forest Uproar, a Sam-Son Farms homebred trained by Mark Frostad, is a 5-year-old, but she may yet have upside. An injury cost Forest Uproar a year of racing, and she has been perfect since her return last fall at Keeneland. The mare is by Forest Wildcat, known more as a sire of sprinters, but she has been as far as 10 furlongs with some success, and has useful tactical speed. James Graham rides for the third time in a row.

Category Seven, a three-time Fair Grounds turf winner, finished a close fifth of 13 from an unfavorable wide post in a Sunshine Millions race last out at Gulfstream. She’s drawn wide again in the Lacombe, and, barring scratches, will break from post 10.

Upperline, a Grade 3 winner last year at 3, moves to turf after a main-track comeback start on Feb. 5.

Gentilly: Many unproven on turf

Who knows if any of them can take their talents to turf, but there are a handful of useful Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds in the $60,000 Gentilly Stakes. The Gentilly is carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf, and would mark the grass debut for eight of the 10 horses in the main body of the field.

The pick to win is Loranger Native, whose pedigree – by Good and Tough and out of a Gate Dancer mare – hints vaguely at grass without offering any definitive suggestions. But Loranger Native can run. Owner Peter Redekop purchased him privately after two strong performances late last summer at Louisiana Downs, and in his first start for Redekop and trainer Mike Stidham, Loranger Native just missed running down Su Casa G Casa in the seven-furlong Premier Prince on Feb. 5 at Delta. At a longer distance and new surface, Loranger Native might catch his rival this time, though Su Casa G Casa has won four times and been second three others in his seven starts, and does not go down without a fight.

Man of Strife, who finished third in the Premier Prince but was making up late ground, is by Leestown, a solid turf influence. Tonto Too also has room to improve in his turf bow.

Also on the card is the filly version of the Gentilly, the $60,000 Sarah Lanes Oates, carded at one mile on turf. The one-two finishers from the Premier Night Starlet, Tensas Punch and Cat’s Production, may be favored.

◗ Adding depth to the card are a pair of appealing allowance races. Race 4 is for older Louisiana-bred sprinters, and might as well be a stakes, having attracted the best horses in the division. The race includes Flashy Wise Cat, My Star Runner, and Chief Jay, as well as the improved Hud’s Rebel, who takes a step up in class after a sharp win.

Race 5 is an entry-level, two-turn, main-track allowance race for 3-year-olds. The six-horse field includes the coupled Al Stall-trained entry of Sour, a maiden route winner on dirt, and Left, a maiden route winner on turf. Lumberyard Jack showed promise winning a two-turn maiden race last out in his second start, while Don Dulce finished behind talented Machen in his most recent race.