03/03/2010 1:00AM

Geier finds himself on Derby trail


Greg Geier spent much of his racing career working as an assistant to trainer Gene Cilio. After Cilio passed away, Geier became a head trainer himself, and since having his name down in the program for the first time in 2003, Geier has steadily hung in there. In eight calendar years in charge of strings in Chicago and New Orleans, Geier has won 213 races from 2,013 runners. He has sent out 23 starters in graded stakes races and won with two of them.

So, okay, Geier is not exactly a household name. But late Monday afternoon, had Geier looked down at his feet, he might have seen a faint trace of the Kentucky Derby trail visible beneath them. That's thanks to the 3-year-old colt Fast Alex, who earned a spot in the March 27 Louisiana Derby with an in the sixth race at Fair Grounds.

"Everything being equal, we'll be back on the 27th," Geier said not long after Fast Alex posted a closing 1 1/2-length victory, running his two-turn record to 2 for 2. Fast Alex, a Jim Tafel homebred by Afleet Alex, finished a rallying third in his career debut, a strong maiden sprint race on Jan. 23. On Feb. 6, he rallied up the rail behind a slow pace to clear the maiden ranks, and on Monday, Fast Alex came off the rail on the far turn to make a long, powerful stretch run that carried him and jockey Curt Bourque to victory.

Fast Alex raced just behind a slow half-mile pace Monday, clinging to the rail, but going into the far turn, the leaders suddenly opened up several lengths on Fast Alex.

"He's just loping along back there, and they started to get away from him," Geier said.

Roused to action by Bourque, Fast Alex jumped into the bit and proved much the best, throwing up his ears once he made the lead and galloping out strongly around the clubhouse turn.

Geier said that Bourque would retain the mount for the Louisiana Derby.