Updated on 09/16/2011 7:39AM

Histoire Sainte triumphs in Sixty Sails


NEW ORLEANS - If all of her races were at Fair Grounds, Histoire Sainte might be a champion. On Sunday, Histoire Sainte won the Sixty Sails* for the second straight year and ran her record on the Fair Grounds turf course to three-for-three.

In fact, the French-bred Histoire Sainte has raced 14 times in the United Stakes and has never won a race away from New Orleans. Besides her twin scores in the Sixty Sails, she won the Bayou Breeders' Cup here in 2000.

But Steve Asmussen, who trains Histoire Sainte for owner Gary Tanaka, thinks it is the Fair Grounds dirt track as much as the turf course that helps Histoire Sainte. Turf specialists like Histoire Sainte often flounder during their daily exercise on dirt, but Histoire Sainte handles the Fair Grounds main track better than any other.

That fact was reflected in Histoire Sainte's strong breezes between her last start at Churchill Downs in late November and the Sixty Sails. She ran to those works Sunday. Breaking from post 10 in a 13-horse field, Histoire Sainte raced in mid-pack from the start into the far turn as the pace-setting Silent Emotion set moderate splits of 24.21 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.26 for a half-mile.

With jockey Donnie Meche steering her between horses, Histoire Sainte avoided traffic trouble and launched her bid turning for home. But she needed nearly all the long Fair Grounds stretch to run down Tabianka, a 70-1 shot who made the lead at the top of the stretch and finished very strongly while running the race of her life. Histoire Sainte got up by a neck, with Tabianka almost two lengths clear of a tight pack of six horses separated by just more than a length. Lady Of Peace, who was last on the far turn, closed well to get third by a head. Silver Rail, favored over Histoire Sainte by less than $200, finished eighth.

Histoire Sainte paid $8.40 to win and ran about one and one-sixteenth miles over a good turf course in 1:44.97.

Sixty Sails*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.