09/05/2001 12:00AM

Inside speed bias returns at Louisiana


Years ago, Louisiana Downs was known as being very kind to inside speed. In recent seasons, however, that bias has diminished to the point of track position rarely affecting the outcome of a race.

All that changed Labor Day, when the old bias returned with a vengeance. Winner after winner came from along the rail, and the first eight winners made the lead soon after the start. Most drew off down the stretch after being used early, which seemed implausible.

Who better to exploit the bias than the two crafty veteran riders Kirk LeBlanc and Ronald Ardoin? LeBlanc padded his big lead in the standings with a four-bagger, taking full advantage of the three times he rode horses who broke from the rail. Ardoin, the all-time leading rider here with over 2,800 victories, won two on the afternoon.

In the fourth race, the King, as Ardoin is commonly called, won on the 9-2 Matter of Course from post 6, the only winner to come from outside post 3 all afternoon.

In the featured Prelude Stakes, Ardoin took the lead and hugged the rail on 9-1 longshot Rare Cure, who held off Quadrophonic Sound, with LeBlanc up.