05/31/2006 12:00AM

Gallant Dreamer ready to tackle stakes


Trainer Joe Petalino on Wednesday morning was going over the stakes schedules for a number of tracks around the country. He was looking at his options for Gallant Dreamer, who won her maiden impressively last weekend at Louisiana Downs.

"She's going to be the real deal, I believe," said Petalino.

Gallant Dreamer is one of 15 juveniles that Petalino has in training this season, and he said he feels the crop is one of his strongest ever.

She was making her second career start last Friday, after finishing a troubled second to the well-regarded Angel Island in a maiden special weight race at Keeneland in April. Gallant Dreamer stalked the pace under Quincy Hamilton and rallied between rivals to score a 2 3/4-length win in a 4 1/2-furlong race.

"I don't know which way I'm going to go yet, but her next start will probably be a stakes somewhere," said Petalino.

Gallant Dreamer is a daughter of Grade 3 winner Belong to Me. She races for Ilona Whetstone.

Among the open-company stakes for 2-year-old fillies in this region are the $65,000 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup at Lone Star on July 22 and the $50,000 Princess at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 9.

Comalagold to clash with Our Love

Comalagold and Our Love, two of the best turf sprinters at Louisiana Downs, will meet in the eighth race Friday. An allowance for fillies and mares, the race will be run at about five furlongs on turf. It should produce starters for the $50,000 Miller Lite Stakes at Lone Star on June 24 and the $50,000 Majorette Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 16.

At least that is the game plan for Comalagold, who will cut back to one turn and return to turf for the feature. Her biggest win came under such conditions, when she captured last year's Majorette over top-flight turf sprinter Nicole's Dream.

Larry Robideaux Jr. trains Comalagold and said the Miller Lite and Majorette are the two stakes objectives he has in the coming months for Comalagold, who is a stakes winner of $277,280.

"This gives her 22 days before the Miller Lite, then I'll come back here and run her in the Majorette," he said. "They're all five-eighths on the grass."

Robideaux has given the mount on Comalagold to Lonnie Meche, the red-hot jockey who won the $50,000 Barksdale last weekend with Northern Scene.

Our Love is trained by Jeff Trosclair and will be ridden by Gerard Melancon.

Quarter Horses to run January to March

Louisiana Downs will run a 40-date Quarter Horse meet in 2007, from Jan. 20 through March 27, said Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations for the track. The meet will run on a Saturday-through-Tuesday basis. Purses will be about $125,000 a day, said Midland.

"We're real excited about the Quarter Horse meet in the winter, because we had such great response to the Fair Grounds meet that time of year," said Midland.

Louisiana Downs hosted the Fair Grounds meet last winter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The dates for the Louisiana Downs Quarter Horse meet flow with the dates for the Quarter Horse meet at Evangeline Downs.

Another bullet for Happy Ticket

For the second straight week, Happy Ticket worked six furlongs in 1:11.40. The move came on Wednesday morning, and it was the fastest of three at the distance. Happy Ticket is preparing for the Grade 2, $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 17.