03/17/2010 11:00PM

Hallway aims to build streak in Costa Rising


The kingpin of the Louisiana-bred older horse division, Star Guitar, spends Saturday afternoon in his stall, with his goal late this Fair Grounds meet the New Orleans Handicap. And that leaves the $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes, for Louisiana-breds at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, open to various interpretations.

The most common probably involves Hallway winning his second race in a row. Facing similar competition in a March 5 allowance race at Fair Grounds, Hallway took a ton of late betting action, went off the favorite, and surged through the final three-sixteenths of a mile to beat Ide Like a Double by three-quarters of a length. A similar result seems plausible, but Hallway has no recent history of pairing wins, and through a 30-start career has finished second almost twice as often as first (10 to 6).

Eight horses were entered in the Costa Rising, including two coupled entries: Autobeacat and Ide Like a Double, and Snug and Hallway. Autobeacat may set the pace and has at least an outside chance to factor throughout the Costa Rising. Winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic in December 2008, Autobeacat made one more start three weeks later and then went on the shelf for almost 14 months. His comeback race, on turf Feb. 20 at Fair Grounds, wasn't bad, with Autobeacat setting the pace from post 11 and holding on for third in a 12-horse field.

And then there is the Flashy Wise Cat situation. Flashy Wise Cat followed up on a Nov. 14 allowance victory in his Fair Grounds debut with a dominating performance in the Dec. 19 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, which he won by more than four lengths. But not a peep was heard from Flashy Wise Cat for more than two months, until finally, on Feb. 27, trainer Troy Young worked him five furlongs at the Evangeline Downs training center. That turned out to be a tune-up for Flashy Wise Cat's two-turn debut, which came in the March 5 allowance race won by Hallway. On the surface of things, Flashy Wise Cat failed that stamina test, pressing a slow pace, taking a clear lead at the stretch call, and faltering badly in the final half-furlong. Keep in mind, though, that Young had only that lonely five-furlong drill in Flashy Wise Cat during his downtime and that Flashy Wise Cat could turn out to be a tighter horse Saturday.

Also worth considering is Kissimee Kyle, whose best race among six career starts came in his only dirt-route start.