07/31/2008 12:00AM

Gratified comes off fast maiden win


With stakes experience a bit hard to come by in Saturday night's colt and gelding division of the $100,000 John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes at Evangeline Downs, the outcome likely hinges upon which recent maiden graduate takes the biggest step forward. A field of 12 2-year-olds that passed through the Franks 2-year-old sale here in March will go 5 1/2 furlongs in the Franks.

Gratified was perhaps the most impressive of those who earned a diploma this summer. The Torey Blanchard charge kicked well clear after contesting the early pace on the Louisiana Legends Night program July 4, covering five furlongs faster than either of the winners of the two divisions of the D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity later on the same card.

After a third-place finish in his debut, Two Nickel Bud was a gutty maiden winner at Louisiana Downs on July 18 for trainer Jerry Cart. The son of Fast Play sold for $15,000 at the sale and is out of the Sunny's Halo mare Sunny Black.

Tiger Shark defeated open company at first asking here July 16. He is trained by Ralph Irwin, who has won with 4 of his 9 starters at the meet.