08/03/2008 11:00PM

Hodges wins two on Champions Day


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The Heiligbrodt Stables-owned entry of Gaston and Cajun Thunder finished one-two in the $75,000 Stardust Stakes Saturday afternoon in the first of eight stakes events for Louisiana-breds that made up Louisiana Downs Champions Day.

Gaston ($3.40) is trained by Brett Brinkman and rallied on the outside under Gerard Melancon. The 2-year-old Count the Time gelding covered the six furlongs in 1:12.79.

In the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders’ Oaks, Superior Storm ($3.80) extended her winning streak in Louisiana-bred stakes events to six as she took control in the second turn of the mile and a sixteenth test for sophomore fillies and cruised home by five lengths. With regular rider John Jacinto in the saddle, the Richard Jackson charge was timed in 1:45.26 and has now won eight of her 12 starts.

Star Production ($7.20) shook loose up front in the $100,000 Louisiana Breeders’ Derby and coasted home eight lengths in front of even-money favorite Ide Like a Double. The James Hodges trainee stopped the timer in a quick 1:43.18 for the mile and a sixteenth en route to his third career victory and first stakes tally. Carlos Gonzalez rode the altered son of Run Production.

The string of short prices came to an end in the $100,000 Walmac Matchmaker for fillies and mares on the grass when longshot Royal Madame ($47.80) set all the pace and held on in determined fashion to narrowly prevail over Tensas Yucatan and 4-5 favorite Tortuga Flats. The winner is trained by Harry Hahn and was clever handled by Cody Meche. The final time for the mile and a sixteenth was 1:43.14 over firm turf.

The $100,000 Victoria for filly and mare sprinters went to Calmed ($24.80) in another upset as she caught odds-on favorite Coach Mike in the waning strides. The win avenged a disappointing eighth-place performance Calmed suffered at the hands of Coach Mike in the Powder Doll Stakes here in May in their last meeting. She was ridden by Kerwin Clark and is trained by Connie Tassistro.

2-year-old fillies lined up next and it was Run Don’t Stroll ($6.80) rallying to win going away. Hodges picked up his second stakes win of the afternoon and Kirk LeBlanc was the winning rider. The Stroll filly was timed in 1:12.48 for the six panels.

Tortuga Straits ($6.40) found a seam in the late going in an exciting stretch run to account for the $100,000 Cajun Stakes to narrowly outfinish 19-1 outsider Captain Buddy. Irwin recorded his second training score of the day after giving Luis Quinonez a leg up in the saddle.

The $100,000 Shiskabob concluded the stakes action and the winner was Diggy Fresh ($13.40) who was making his first start since being claimed by Keith Bourgeois. Melancon was on board the 7-year-old who won for the first time since 2006 and for the sixth time in his 33 race career.