06/14/2006 12:00AM

Hendrickson primed for more stakes


Chief What It Is gave trainer Lori Hendrickson the first stakes win of her career last Saturday at Louisiana Downs when he captured the $50,000 Airline, and there might be more where that came from. Hendrickson, based in Kentucky, is planning another stakes invasion next month with Rogue Scholar, who will vie for favoritism in the $75,000 Folklore Handicap here July 20.

Rogue Scholar won at Churchill Downs the same day Chief What It Is wired his rivals at Louisiana Downs to give Hendrickson her first training double. She won the first race of her career in the fall of 1999 at River Downs.

Hendrickson is having her best year as a trainer, with 10 wins from 35 starts for 2006 stable earnings of $287,967. That figure already tops the previous career-best, $258,110, her stable earned in 2005, when

she won 11 races from 83 starts. Hendrickson has a 15-horse stable divided between the Churchill Downs Trackside Training Center and Highpoint Training Center in Kentucky.

Driving Hendrickson's strong stats are horses such as Chief What It Is, who used his outstanding speed to win the Airline, covering the six furlongs in 1:10.24 under Jose Riquelme. Earlier this year, Chief What It Is won his maiden and an allowance at Evangeline Downs, and another allowance at Keeneland.

"We'll probably give him some time, about 45 days on a farm in Lexington," Hendrickson said.

Because of Chief What It Is's speed, Hendrickson said she would like to test him on turf.

"I would love to try him on turf, maybe at five furlongs and see how he does," Hendrickson said. "It may be something we'll just try because we may have more options if he does seem to be okay on the grass."

Chief What It Is races for Hendrickson's parents, Jerry and Liz Squyres, and was the first stakes winner for Liz Squyres. She bred Chief What It Is, who is a son of Crafty Prospector and is from the same female family as multiple Grade 3-winning sprinter Gray Slewpy.

Rogue Scholar races for a partnership that includes the Squyreses. He won a $62,500 claimer over six furlongs last Saturday and earned a Beyer of 101.

"He won in 1:08.40," Hendrickson said. "He was very impressive."

Hendrickson, 35, was born in Michigan and raised in Dallas, Texas. Later this year, Hendrickson plans to race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Purse policies change Saturday

Louisiana Downs has increased purses and will begin paying back purses to ninth place with the start of its third condition book Saturday, said Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations at Louisiana Downs. Midland said purses for every maiden category and races for claiming prices of $10,000 or less have been increased by $1,000 each. Meanwhile, first-level allowance races have been boosted by $500.

As for the new payback policy, horses finishing sixth through ninth will receive 1 percent of the purse. The policy is the result of an

agreement between Louisiana Downs and the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

"We felt like it gives more people a check, and ultimately, we're looking for eight or nine starters a race to make a good betting race, and that way everybody that runs gets a little something back," Midland said. "When you look around the country, there's so many tracks doing that now, and sometimes you don't realize it. You're always better off if you can get fuller fields."

Louisiana Downs has averaged 8.1 starters a race this meet.

Desert Wheat returns Friday

Desert Wheat, who lost all chance when he clipped heels badly shortly into the $150,000 USA at Lone Star Park in his last start on May 29, will return Friday in an optional claimer at Louisiana Downs. The race will be run at about one mile on turf, and others in the field include stakes winners Silver Haze and Spruce's Prince.

Desert Wheat is also a stakes winner, and his summer objective at Louisiana Downs is the $50,000

A.L. Red Erwin for statebreds at one-mile on turf July 21. In his last start, he was sixth in the USA, a race in which he lost both of his front shoes and his left hind shoe, said Tony Richey, who trains Desert Wheat. Richey has given the mount to Donnie Meche.

Spruce's Prince will be making his first start since January, when he finished third by a half-length in the Dixie Poker Ace at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs. Trainer Gerald Romero has given the mount to Lonnie Meche.

- Louisborg, a 3-year-old by Victory Gallop who rallied from about 15 lengths back to win his career debut in a six-furlong race Saturday, could make his next start in the $50,000 Excalibur at one mile on turf at Louisiana Downs on July 8, Richey said.

"He was 12 1/2 lengths off the pace at the quarter pole and just finished up full of run," said Richey, who trains Louisborg for Royce Roberts.

Louisborg is out of the mare Elegance, a regular on turf who was a multiple stakes-placed winner of $221,888.