Updated on 09/15/2011 1:39PM

Hail to Bag hard to get past


NEW ORLEANS - Hail to Bag won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile by almost three lengths for his fifth straight win. The best horses chasing him that day are resting now. So you figure it out - how tough will Hail to Bag be in Sunday's Louisiana Futurity at Fair Grounds?

The undefeated Hail to Bag will be an overwhelming favorite in the six-furlong colts and geldings division of the Futurity, which attracted seven Louisiana-breds who will run for about a $65,000 purse if all start.

A Bag colt trained by Doris Hebert, Hail to Bag has beaten all comers in the Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds ranks, winning his five races by a combined 22 lengths. Twice, he has beaten open company, in his debut at Lone Star Park and in the Lafayette Stakes at Evangeline Downs this summer.

Hebert always seems to come up with such horses, young statebreds who develop early and are loaded with speed. Hail to Bag, who is tall and gangly, does not look like a precocious speed type, but he is exceptionally fast out of the gate.

"It's hard to believe how fast he is for the size he is," said Hebert, who bases his operation in Lafayette, La. "He's a little high-spirited, but not crazy, not mean. He's a good animal to work with."

Hail to Bag was well clear of the field when he turned for home on Champions Day, and then proceeded to drift out in the stretch run - and kept drifting and drifting. At the finish, Hail to Bag was closer to the outside rail than the inside fence.

Such behavior sometimes signals physical problems. In this case, Hebert believes arthritis in Hail to Bag's elbow and shoulder was bothering him. Since the Juvenile, Hebert said, the arthritis has been treated with therapeutic sweats and cortisone.

Hail to Bag blew out three furlongs Thursday at Evangeline, and Hebert doesn't expect him to drift again Sunday.

Hebert has a legitimate chance of sweeping the top two spots in the Futurity. Abagfullofit, who has won 2 of 4 starts and was third behind Hail to Bag in the Shine Young Memorial this summer, is coming back from a four-month break, and has been training well for his return.

Abagfullofit was third in his last start, the Pioneer Stakes at Louisiana Downs, where he faced open company. The two horses are coupled in the wagering.

Of the others, Giuseppe's Champ, fourth in the Champions Day Juvenile, and Zuppy, who makes his second start for the meet's leading trainer Steve Asmussen, are the most appealing.

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