10/10/2006 11:00PM

Gibson thriving in second year


Trainer Jonas Gibson is having a breakout meet at Louisiana Downs. He won with three straight starters last weekend and will send out his best filly, Miss Parisian Mist, in the featured race here Friday. A six-furlong optional claimer, the race drew 10, including stakes winners Destiny Calls, Follow the Lite, and Hottamolly.

Gibson, 24, began training last year and won with 4 of 37 starters. This year, he has won with 16 of 97 starters through Tues-day, and he ranks 12th in the local standings, with 14 wins from 80 starts and stable earnings of $222,165. His barn has grown, thanks to the support of primary client George Ackel Jr.

"I met George Ackel in February, and then all of a sudden we started buying and claiming horses," said Gibson.

Gibson said he focused on getting his horses ready for the Louisiana Downs meet, which opened in May.

"I wanted to have all my guns ready to go," he said. "The first 18 horses I started, I think 15 ran one, two, three. They were running their butts off."

Gibson, a former free safety for Northwestern State University in his native Louisiana, trains Miss Parisian Mist for Jerry and Sandy Heflin, who were the leading owners at Lone Star Park. Miss Parisian Mist was a private purchase, and since the sale she has gone 3 for 7. Miss Parisian Mist has raced once at Louisiana Downs, winning her maiden here in May.

"She broke her maiden in the mud," said Gibson. "She showed a lot of guts. The filly Smitty's Sunshine passed her down the lane and she came right back. And Smitty's Sunshine, as a maiden, she came back and won an a-other-than, so I knew Miss Parisian Mist was a good filly."

Smitty's Sunshine won the first-level allowance by 10 lengths, and Miss Parisian Mist proceeded to win two allowances at Evangeline. Luis Quinonez has the mount Friday.

Gibson, who formerly worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Steve Flint, won his first career race in June 2005 at Louisiana Downs.

A Sarah Lane's Oates baby

Sarah Lane's Oates, the Louisiana-bred turf mare who won 15 stakes and $888,296, will soon be represented by her first starter, a 2-year-old filly by Point Given. Sarahlane'sdestiny is in training at Louisiana Downs and will probably make her debut later this year at Fair Grounds, said her breeder and owner, Glen Warren.

"We hope this is a good one," he said. "She's not as big as Sarah Lane's Oates, but she looks very much the same. She has the same markings. She really marks her babies."

Sarah Lane's Oates, who was a large mare, has a weanling filly by Medaglia d'Oro and is in foal to Silver Deputy. She is based at Trackside Farms in Versailles, Ky. Warren has bred some of his other mares this year to Buddha, Aptitude, and Saarland.

"All of them will be Louisiana-breds, except the Sarah Lane's Oates-Silver Deputy," he said.

Warren also has sent mares this year to his Louisiana stallion B.J.'s Mark, a multiple stakes winner by Sheikh Albadou. From his first two crops, B.J.'s Mark has sired stakes winners Maid in China and Hud's Playmate, who is owned by Warren.

Warren also owns Destin Bound, a daughter of B.J.'s Mark who is a solid favorite in the ninth race Friday. The six-furlong maiden special weight is for 2-year-old fillies. Destin Bound was second in her last start Sept. 15.

As for Sarah Lane's Oates, Warren said she is booked back to Medaglia d'Oro for 2007. Sarahlane'sdestiny is in training with Andrew Leggio, who also trained Sarah Lane's Oates.

Melancon remembers Harrison

Jockey Gerard Melancon was agent Jerry Harrison's final client, and the news late last month of Harrison's death following a battle with cancer has been difficult for Melancon. Melancon registered two of his biggest wins with Harrison: the Grade 1 Vosburgh on Bonapaw in 2002 and the Grade 2 Super Derby on Fantasticat in 2004.

"He never let anything discourage him or get him down," said Melancon. "He had God in his life. He was always positive, and he always kept me positive. He kept me focused. He kept me happy, and that's the lightest weight a horse can carry, [a rider] being mentally in the game. He was a great person."

During his career, Harrison also represented Ronald Ardoin and Shane Romero.