07/14/2010 12:00AM

Interesting rematch in the making


BOSSIER CITY, La. - One of the more eagerly anticipated rematches of the Louisiana Downs season remains on course for the $50,000 Laurel Lane Stakes later this month.

Do Dat Blues and Take Me Home Too, first and second here in a 2-year-old maiden race in June, and each an impressive winner since, are set to meet again in the six-furlong Laurel Lane for Louisiana-bred fillies July 31.

Following her hard-earned half-length maiden win, Do Dat Blues ventured into open company on the turf in the Princess Stakes on July 3, outfinishing the highly regarded and previously unbeaten Dixieland Bull for the win following a spirited stretch duel. Trainer Michelle Lovell said last week that she intends to return Do Dat Blues to the main track and statebred company for the Laurel Lane before a possible start in the Aug. 28 Donnie Wilhite Memorial.

Take Me Home Too joined the ranks of winners this past Saturday with a powerful six-length maiden victory. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Take Me Home Too covered the five furlongs faster than older optional claiming performers going the same distance in the afternoon's featured eighth race.

"I thought we should have won the first time," said Calhoun earlier this week. "We were sitting rather confidently and the other filly got some momentum going and got the jump on us.

"She came from the race Saturday in good shape. Three weeks will be about right between starts for her."

Calhoun is well known for his success in the 2-year-old division and has won 20 percent of his more than 250 2-year-old starts since Jan. 1, 2009. Calhoun says the key to his 2-year-old program is preparation.

"Sometimes well prepared beats most talented," he said. "We may not always lead the best one over but we do try to bring the best prepared. We do a lot of repetition. Schooling in the gate, schooling in the paddock. We are fortunate to have a lot of numbers so we do a lot of training in company as well."

Calhoun went on to say that his stable will be a bit more visible locally with the Lone Star Park season coming to an end this weekend.

"We'll stick around here in Dallas until July 29th before shipping a lot of our stock to Remington," Calhoun said. "Louisiana Downs will still play a large role in our stable, however."

While Calhoun is a force in this region, his stable is also becoming more nationally known. Despite his growing reputation, Calhoun remains loyal to his Texas roots. He says the industry there is at a crucial stage.

"We are in survival mode right now and have to do something," he said in reference to the idea of concentrating the state's racing calendar to 60 to 70 dates in 2011. "You look at Monmouth and the model of a shorter meet with larger purses and larger fields seems to be working."