05/16/2007 12:00AM

Hot Burningham-Cart tandem run four Friday


BOSSIER CITY, La. - With the chase for leading rider promising to be as hot as the weather this summer at Louisiana Downs, it always helps to get off to a quick start, and that is just what Jeff Burningham has done.

Burningham, a 34-year-old native of Montreal, sits atop the standings after two weeks of racing with a total of nine wins, just ahead of former champs John Jacinto and Carlos Gonzalez.

"We've gotten lucky in a few spots," said the low-key Burningham. "It's all about the right horses in the right spots, and we have been fortunate so far."

While fortune may have had a role in his early-season success, so has a strong work ethic. On Sunday Burningham was aboard a long list of morning workers for a number of different outfits.

"I think it has helped that we got here a couple of weeks before the meeting began," Burningham said, referring to himself and agent Rob Robertson. "We got on a lot of horses those mornings before the season even started."

While Burningham rides for several barns, trainer Jerry Cart, one of the early-season leading trainer, has been his bread and butter thus far.

"I would say that Mr. Cart has been my big barn," Burningham said. "We had a good meeting together at Delta Downs over the winter. I won a total of 51 races down there to finish in the top five. Mr. Cart shipped a lot of horses up here."

The Cart-Burningham alliance dates back to last season at Stampede when Burningham finishing sixth in the final standings with 52 victories while Cart sent out 21 winners to finish sixth among trainers. The two have combined for 28 victories from 146 starters over the last two years for a 19 percent win rate.

Cart and Burningham will be particularly busy on Friday as they team up in four of the 10 races, including with Groovy Venture in the featured ninth race. The $30,000 headliner is for Louisiana-breds fillies and mares who have not won a race other than maiden or claiming.

Groovy Venture will be making her second start against winners after winning her maiden impressively with Burningham aboard at Delta in late February.