01/02/2009 12:00AM

Lord of the Game fades - but stays healthy


In Thursday's ninth race, the 8-year-old Lord of the Game made his comeback and played the role of rabbit for 10-year-old King of Speed, who won the one-mile allowance by 3 3/4 lengths.

It was his first race in more than three years for Lord of the Game, who set the pace before fading and finishing seven lengths back in sixth place.

Most importantly, however, he seems to have emerged from the race with no issues relating to the tendon problems that had sent him to the sidelines.

"It felt like he was getting tired, and the jockey was given instructions not to abuse him to keep him going," said trainer Keith Bourgeois. "He came out of the race real good, and this morning he looks like he is doing great, no swelling or heat on the tendon."

Bourgeois was optimistic about the future for Lord of the Game, who was claimed in his first race for $10,000 and has earned more than $500,000 in 14 lifetime races.

"We'll give him a little time to rest, then come back in the same type of race," said Bourgeois. "He's 8 years old, but he still fits at some level."

King of Speed won the race handily on the day he turned 10, and took his bankroll past $470,000 in the 92nd start of his lifetime.

His trainer, Bret Calhoun, hasn't found a spot for him to race again, but indicated that he would try to get him in turf races, where he has shown some talent, though perhaps less than on the main track.

"We'll enter him in those grass races here, and hope they come off the turf," said Calhoun. "It has been hard to get races for him to go in; they don't have a lot of races that fit his conditions."

Indygo Mountain gets over setback

On Dec. 31, the day before he turned 3, Calhoun's promising colt Indygo Mountain was making up for lost time.

After missing a key prep for the Grade 3 Lecomte on Jan. 10, due to an abscess in his right hind foot, Indygo Mountain was fit and working a mile, though it was timed as a half-mile in 48.80 seconds.

"The clockers caught the last half-mile of the work," said Calhoun. "He's a little behind and he missed some important breezes, but we are pointing him toward the Lecomte."

Mena hoping to build on success

After missing nearly four weeks of the meet, 22-year-old Miguel Mena started making up for lost time on Sunday, riding three winners and taking his record to an impressive 12 wins from 45 mounts.

In his first season at Fair Grounds last year, Mena enjoyed a breakout season, winning eight stakes races and finishing seventh in the final jockey standings.

"Last year was a good springboard into Churchill, where we were second-leading rider in the spring," said Mena's agent, Steve Elzey. "This year we stayed at Churchill until it was over, so we missed four weeks at the Fair Grounds."

Mena is hoping to make the next step forward into the cadre of elite riders, and claims a newfound maturity and work ethic.

"Last year I was 21 years old, and I thought I was riding okay," said Mena. "But this year I am working hard every day, staying away from the parties and Bourbon Street."

His success doesn't surprise his agent.

"He has as much talent as any rider I've ever seen," said Elzey. "This jockey colony is as good as it has ever been, but we are getting very live horses."

Husbands back from vacation

The high quality of the jockey colony will continue to improve, with four-time Sovereign Award winner Patrick Husbands to ride his first mount of the meet on Sunday.

Husbands won the riding title at Woodbine, and comes into the Fair Grounds season late after taking nearly a month off in his home country of Barbados.

"You get tired at the end of the Woodbine meet," said his agent, Gary Kemplen. "They rode him into the ground, not that we are complaining."

Husbands rode 14 winners from 81 mounts last year, his first at Fair Grounds.

"We were satisfied with the meet last year," said Kemplen. "And again, we got here late."