03/07/2009 12:00AM

Gold Wonder uncatchable in Lacombe Stakes

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The Fair Grounds grass course, that notorious swallower of early-speed horses, lost its teeth on Saturday. A horse went wire to wire going two turns early on the card, and in the $60,000 Allen Lacombe Stakes, John Jacinto walked the dog with 22-1 shot Gold Wonder, backing up the pace and scoring by three-quarters of a length.

Gold Wonder has improved throughout the Fair Grounds meet for trainer Michelle Lovell. Most recently, he set the pace and finished fourth behind strong allowance competition on Feb. 20, but in the Lacombe, no one could catch him.

"I figured he'd be in the lead again," said Jacinto. "This time he was very, very relaxed. I know the speed is holding up right now, and I thought that would help him."

Fellow longshot Acting Zippy applied token early pressure, but Gold Wonder was by himself for most of the backstretch run, setting fractions of 50.75 seconds to the half-mile and 1:14.83 for six furlongs. Jacinto cut Gold Wonder loose after straightening away, and the horse had enough left to hold off steadily closing Get Rich Quick. Antrim County finished third, while heavily favored Storm Treasure, last behind the slow pace and in trouble in the stretch, was sixth. Gold Wonder paid $46 to win, and was timed in 1:38.45 for one mile on firm turf.