07/05/2011 1:07PM

Louisiana Downs-based Pale Blazer could be headed to Penn National


Pale Blazer is one quick 3-year-old. He set some stunning fractions in an allowance at Louisiana Downs last weekend en route to improving his turf record to 4 for 4, and could see stakes action later this month in a major race at Penn National.

Pale Blazer was a 1 1/2-length winner of a third-level optional $35,000 claiming race at about five furlongs on turf Sunday. He was pressed through an opening quarter in 20.75 seconds, continued to lead through a half-mile in 42.60, then finished the task on firm turf in 55.55. He earned a career-best 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He was very impressive,” said Mike Burgess, who trains Pale Blazer for Danny Good’s Good Tyme Racin. “This horse is by far the fastest horse I’ve ever had.”

He’s also getting some attention from the Quarter Horse ranks. Burgess had asked Jack Brooks, a longtime family friend who happens to be a famed trainer of Quarter Horses, to watch Pale Blazer, a gelding, run on Sunday.

“He said if he was a stallion, they’d all want to breed to him with that kind of speed,” said Burgess.

Burgess is now debating sending Pale Blazer to Pennsylvania for a race on July 30.

“We could go to the Governor’s Cup then stay over and run in the Turf Monster,” he said of the two major upcoming turf sprints at Penn National and Parx Racing. “It’s also possible we could go run in the Governor’s Cup then give him time off until his 4-year-old year. We haven’t decided.”

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup is worth $200,000, while the Grade 3, $350,000 Turf Monster at Parx is to be run Sept. 5.

Sunny’s Halo next for Worthington

Worthington, who won his turf debut in last month’s $50,000 Minstrel for 2-year-olds at about five furlongs at Louisiana Downs, will remain on the turf for his next start, said his trainer, Bret Calhoun. He is being pointed for the $50,000 Sunny’s Halo at 7 1/2 furlongs at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 6.

Worthington earned one of the year’s better Beyers for a 2-year-old on June 9, when he won a maiden race at Lone Star Park with an 83. He led wire to wire, then used the same tactics to win the Minstrel under jockey Justin Shepherd. The Sunny’s Halo is the first route for 2-year-olds at Louisiana Downs, and it will be the first two-turn race for Worthington.

“I talked to [Justin] and he said he didn’t feel like he would have any problem handling it,” Calhoun said of the distance test. “I guess we’ll all find out together, you know. At this point, I guess nobody really knows [with young horses]. Obviously, my first thought is he’s very, very fast, but that’s kind of what we’ve asked him to do. But, I think he’ll handle it fine.”

Riders to set up shop in Louisiana

Jockey Alfredo Contreras has annually ranked among the top 10 riders in Texas, and now he is looking to establish himself in Louisiana. He will be based at Louisiana Downs for the first time in his career after the close of the Lone Star meet on Sunday.

“I’m following where my business is going,” said Contreras, a 26-year-old native of Aguascalientes, Mexico. “I went to Delta Downs this year and I liked it. I’d like to ride that circuit in Louisiana.”

Contreras, who is not related to recent Queen’s Plate-winning jockey Luis Contreras but knows the fellow Mexico native, will be represented by Richard Ketner. Ketner has some strong ties to Louisiana and has been Contreras’s agent at Lone Star, where the rider ranks ninth in the standings.

Other riders heading to Louisiana Downs following Lone Star include Bobby Walker Jr. and Roman Chapa, who will be riding some for trainer Danny Pish, said Shawn Bergquist, who represents Chapa at Lone Star.

Class test for Easy Jazz

Easy Jazz, a former $5,000 claimer who became a Louisiana-bred allowance winner last month with a notable Beyer Figure of 90, will get tested for class on Thursday. He goes in a second-level allowance sprint for statebreds that has drawn the stakes-placed runners Amanecer de Oro and Call, as well as the tough front-runner Burning Valor.

Easy Jazz won his career debut in a $5,000 maiden claiming sprint at Evangeline Downs in April. He romped by more than 12 lengths, and was claimed by Pegasus Stables and turned over to trainer Carl Deville.

In his first start for his new connections, the 3-year-old Easy Jazz ran second in a statebred allowance May 20. He then came back and romped by seven lengths in a June 15 allowance at Evangeline, earning a 90 Beyer. It’s the best last-race number in the field Thursday. Kerwin Clark has the mount.