05/20/2008 11:00PM

Keith Desormeaux eyes Triple of his own


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Besides racing, summer activities in the Arlington Park area can seem thin. Sure, a tour might be arranged of the Cook County Courthouse across the street. Three-quarters of a mile west of the courthouse, one could fish for carp in a little stream that runs through a suburban park.

Okay - the Louisiana-based trainer Keith Desormeaux did not open up a tiny Arlington Park string this summer for local entertainment value. No, Desormeaux came here to run Gangbuster on the Arlington Park grass course.

"They have a great 3-year-old turf series there," Desormeaux said, reached Wednesday by phone somewhere in central Louisiana.

The turf series that begins Saturday with Gangbuster's race, the Arlington Classic, has long been called the Mid-America Triple by Arlington. But it's because of another three-race series for 3-year-olds that the Desormeaux family name has leaked to the sports world at large the last five weeks. You might have heard of Kent Desormeaux? Rides a horse name of Big Brown?

"I don't know," Keith Desormeaux said, asked how it felt to have "brother of" currently attached to many questions pertaining to his own life experience. Brother Kent is three years younger than Keith, the two being the oldest among six kids in a family from little Maurice, La., location 10 miles south of Lafayette. "I guess it feels about the same as 10 years ago when he was getting ready to do it with Real Quiet. I thought he couldn't be beaten that day."

Keith looks a lot like Kent, and obviously roots for Kent. There appears to be no trace of resentment even though the one is a famous jockey, the other a lesser-known trainer who often works not far from the family home.

"Growing up, we thought Evangeline Downs was the big time," Keith said.

Keith said that he, too, had thoughts of becoming a rider in early adolescence.

"I tried jumping on a racehorse when I was 13," he said. "I was like, 'Forget this.' I rode horses, but there was no way - a racehorse is a whole different ball game."

Okay, so piloting them wasn't his deal, but Keith has regularly shown an ability to tell what a racehorse looks like, even at an early age. Gangbuster was purchased for only $23,000 as a yearling, a small sum for a colt by Langfuhr out of a graded-stakes-class mare named Foxcaller.

"This horse was very leggy, a little long in the pastern, and I think most people shied away from him," Desormeaux said.

Gangbuster started his career late last summer with two wins, both racing short on dirt, once at Evangeline, once at Louisiana Downs. The horse has lost five in a row since then, but he has performed creditably in longer stakes races, and Gangbuster finished rapidly to just miss winning the March 22 Grindstone Stakes at Fair Grounds, Gangbuster's second career turf start.

"He's just starting to mature now," Desormeaux said. "His first race on the turf, he didn't improve as much as I thought, and I got under the impression he'd be just as good on the main track. But that last race made me a believer."

Gangbuster was one of 10 horses entered Wednesday in the Arlington Classic. The field includes the horse who narrowly beat him in the Grindstone, Amazing Results, as well as Blue Lion, Free Fighter, Meal Penalty, Mr. Mischief, Prime Realestate, Sebastian County, Sporting Art, and Strait of Mewsina.

The Arlington Classic is one of three stakes here Saturday. The Grade 3 Hanshin, a one-mile Polytrack race, drew a field of eight: Coragil Cat, Fort Prado, Lovango, Morada Key, Spotsgone, Steve's Double, Stonehouse, and Throng.

The inaugural running of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, drew 10 entries, with Cubs Fan, Dreaming of Liz, Elle Tish Slew, Jolie Visage, Much Obliged, Nijinsky Ballet, Scolara, Seemingly, Three Graces, and Valentine Fever entered. Elle Tish Slew and Three Graces are a coupled entry.

Recapture the glory back in Chicago

Recapturetheglory has come full circle, returning from his admirable fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to Arlington Park, where he struggled to gain traction at the start of his career last summer.

Recapturetheglory, the upset winner of the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne last month, shipped from Churchill to Arlington on Monday, and has gotten back to galloping after recovering from two minor problems - a fever and a bruised foot - that cropped up after the Derby, and kept him from a potential start in the Preakness Stakes.

Lara Van Deren, who trained Recapturetheglory in 2007 but now has returned to her former role as assistant to co-owner and trainer Louie Roussel, has been overseeing the bulk of Recapturetheglory's day-to-day activity. But Roussel was back in town Wednesday, and he watched Recapturetheglory train.

"Going over him today, and watching him go, he was fantastic," Roussel said.

While Roussel said that "everything is on go" with the horse, he divulged no plans for Recapturetheglory's upcoming schedule.

"We haven't decided that yet," Roussel said. "He'll work, and then he'll let us know."

Forever Together may try Modesty

Forever Together, smart winner of the Reluctant Guest Stakes here Saturday, has returned to Keeneland for now, but could be back at Arlington for the July 12 Modesty Handicap later this summer.

"I'd say the Modesty is a possibility," Sheppard said.

Four-year-old Forever Together won her first three races, capping that string with a two-length victory in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes in March 2007, but she had not won again before the Reluctant Guest, the filly's turf debut.

"She has a problem with not sweating in hot weather, which was one of several things contributing to below-par performance," Sheppard said. "It looks like we're sort of back on track with her again."

* There are eight horses in the featured ninth race here Friday, a second-level, six-furlong Polytrack allowance. Big Rushlet finished a close third in a similar race opening day, and along with Holy Thursday and John's Road, looks like a top contender.