09/20/2005 12:00AM

Happy Ticket pointed for Beldame


Happy Ticket could be Breeders' Cup bound. Happy Ticket, a Louisiana-bred filly who improved her record to 10 for 11 last month at Saratoga when she won the Grade 1 Ballerina, is being pointed for the Grade 1 Beldame and then, perhaps, the Breeders' Cup, said her trainer, Andrew Leggio Jr.

The 1 1/8-mile Beldame will be run Oct. 1 at Belmont Park, and with a good performance, Happy Ticket would remain in New York and train up to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at the same distance Oct. 29.

Happy Ticket was given 10 days off after the Ballerina, and last Thursday breezed five furlongs in 1:01, the second-fastest time of 24 works at the distance that day at her base of Louisiana Downs.

Leggio called the Beldame "the only race that they had around the country going that looked enticing."

Leggio said the Beldame's one-turn setup is appealing, and that another obvious draw is the purse of $750,000.

Happy Ticket's rider for the Beldame will depend on the direction taken with Ashado. John Velazquez rode Happy Ticket last out in the Ballerina, and if his regular mount, Ashado, does not go in the Beldame, he is scheduled to be aboard Happy Ticket, said Leggio.

Happy Ticket has registered her biggest wins in seven-furlong races like the Ballerina and Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup, but she is also a three-time stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles. A daughter of Anet, the 4-year-old Happy Ticket races for her breeder, Stewart Madison.

Leggio said Happy Ticket is scheduled to fly to New York on Sept. 29. She has thrived since being freshened following her trip to New York for the Ballerina.

"She's full of herself, very alert and very energetic," said Leggio.

Zarb's Dahar may try open company

Zarb's Dahar was the star of the Breeders' Festival last Saturday at Louisiana Downs with his four-length romping win in the $75,000 Cajun. His goal now is the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint for statebreds, but he could race one more time before then, said his trainer, James Hodges. With no suitable Louisiana-bred races for him before the Sprint, his next start would probably have to come against open company.

"It depends on what they've got at this Fair Grounds meet," said Hodges. "I'm sure they'll have a sprint against open horses."

An abbreviated version of the upcoming Fair Grounds meet is scheduled to be held at Louisiana Downs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The revised stakes schedule for Fair Grounds has not yet been released. Champions Day, however, is tentatively set for Dec. 10.

Hodges said he will also look at sprint stakes options at Delta Downs.

Zarb's Dahar won his ninth straight Louisiana Downs start in the Cajun, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. He was one of two winners on the Festival card for Hodges, who also captured the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders' Oaks with Miriam L.

Burgess starts promising statebred

Former jockey Mike Burgess launched a public racing stable at the start of the Louisiana Downs meet, and one of the most promising horses in the trainer's barn is Copenhagen Gyro, who will start in the sixth race Thursday.

The colt won his maiden last out at 23-1, and will be facing winners for the first time in the Louisiana-bred entry-level allowance, which carries an optional claiming price of $15,000. The horse to beat in the six-furlong race is the Hodges-trained Fine Stormy.

Copenhagen Gyro rallied from five lengths off the pace last out to win a six-furlong maiden special weight race Aug. 26.

"I look for him to improve and make a nice horse," said Burgess.

Burgess, 37, competed as a jockey from 1985 to 1995 and rode in a number of prominent races for Quarter Horses. He is the son of elite Quarter Horse rider Jerry Burgess, now a steward in Texas.

"Everything I could manage to win once, Dad has won twice or three times," quipped Burgess.

Mike Burgess decided he wanted to train following his career in the saddle, and for a number of years he worked as an assistant to such trainers as Steve Asmussen, Bubba Cascio, Kari Craddock, Kenny Smith, and Jack Van Berg, a Hall of Famer.

"The minute I quit riding I went to work for Jack Van Berg," said Burgess. "I worked for him for two years. It was really an educational experience doing that."

This spring, Burgess set up a seven-horse public stable at Louisiana Downs, and his first win came with Go Texan on July 28. He said he recently purchased eight yearlings on behalf of clients, and this winter he plans to race at the Fair Grounds meet, as well as at Delta Downs and Oaklawn Park.