01/07/2009 12:00AM

Longshot Legacy targets four in row


NEW ORLEANS - Michael Moreno's Southern Equine Stables and its main trainer, Eric Guillot, took 14 horses away from trainer Wes Hawley at Fair Grounds last month, basically cutting his stable in half. But don't expect Hawley to roll over and die. Hawley is a career 17 percent trainer and has shown over and over again that he can handle horses both cheap and decent.

Take the case of Longshot Legacy. Fourth and seventh in his first two starts, low-level maiden claimers at Louisiana Downs, Longshot Legacy was craftily steered by Hawley into an even lower $5,000 maiden claimer there Oct. 18. The horse won by 20 lengths, and for now, at least, isn't a claimer at all. With two wins already at the Fair Grounds meeting, the most recent a fairly impressive starter-allowance score Dec. 26, Longshot Legacy has graduated into the allowance ranks and was one of seven horses entered in the nominally featured eighth race at Fair Grounds on Friday, an entry-level dirt-route allowance.

The addition of blinkers helped turn Longshot Legacy around, but there were other factors.

"We were stealing," Hawley cheerfully said of Longshot Legacy's bottom-end maiden win, using racetrack jargon for running a horse below its perceived value. "At Louisiana Downs, they never claim open horses at the end of the meet there. I didn't think anyone would take him."

Owned by Robert Orth, the 4-year-old gelding Longshot Legacy fetched a bid of $25,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale two years ago.

"The owner and I always thought he'd be a pretty nice horse if he got his act together and didn't hurt himself in the process," Hawley said.

Yes, learning comes somewhat slowly for Longshot Legacy, described by his trainer as "a complete idiot."

"You should've seen him in the winner's circle after he won the first time," Hawley said. "We couldn't get the saddle off him. We were out there on the track chasing him down to the sixteenth pole. They took the picture with the jock standing on the ground. But he's learning."

Thanks to diligent work and concise management, Longshot Legacy now has gotten his picture taken three times in a row, and win No. 4 is not out of range Friday. A closer, Longshot Legacy may have a fast pace at which to run at, with two front-end types, Goaltogoal and Repent Pardner, also entered. Off-the-pace runners Klassi Berti and Catch the Luck also might have a chance, they just don't have the back-story of Longshot Legacy.