09/05/2013 3:02PM

Louisiana Downs: Gantry back from break for Temperence Hill

Barbara D. Livingston
Gantry worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 on Aug. 31.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – One of the main questions within the $100,000 guaranteed pick four sequence at Louisiana Downs on Saturday is whether Gantry can fire off the bench in the second leg, the $50,000 Temperence Hill Stakes. The six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up is one of five stakes on the undercard supporting the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby. The pick four, which has a 50-cent minimum, will be on races 8 through 11.

Gantry has done his best work at six furlongs on dirt, and he will be returning to those conditions after finishing second in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes at seven furlongs on Polytrack at Keeneland on April 13, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Grade 2 winner Handsome Mike. Following that start, Gantry, who in 2012 won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at six furlongs at Calder, was freshened, said his trainer, Ron Faucheux.

“After the last race, we gave him about two months off and slowly trained him back up to fitness,” Faucheux said. “He had a tough campaign up to that point, and we just gave him little breather.

“I think he’s really going into this race good. You know, we’ve had a couple of five-eighths works into him, and he looks like the same old Gantry. My concern is fitness. Is he back to 100 percent fitness? It’s hard to say, though in his works he looks just like he always had.”

Gantry, who has been training at the Evangeline Downs Training Center near Lafayette, La., went five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 in his final move on Aug. 31.

Richard Eramia, the leading rider at Louisiana Downs, has the mount on Gantry, who will break from post 4. The horse was prominent in the Commonwealth, but also has been effective stalking, and he could get a stalking trip Saturday.

“That’s usually his running style,” Faucheux said. “His last race, there wasn’t much speed and he kind of inherited the lead little earlier than normal.”

Gantry, who swept the sprint series at Fair Grounds during the 2011-2012 season, was second in each of the three races during the most recent meet in New Orleans. Faucheux, who trains Gantry for Brittlyn Stable, said he is pointing the horse for the meet at Fair Grounds.

The pick four opens with the $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies that drew Bern Legacy from Kentucky, as well as Redgrass Cat, the winner of the local stakes prep, and Synapse, a daughter of the multiple stakes winner Sarah Lane’s Oates.

Bern Legacy will be making her two-turn debut off a maiden special weight score at five furlongs on turf at Ellis Park on July 21.

“I don’t think she’ll have a problem with the added distance,” trainer Mike Maker said.

Maker also has a top contender in the third leg of the pick four, the $100,000 Unbridled, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up. He will send out Major Marvel, who will be trying for his fifth straight win. The field of seven includes defending champ Global Power and top-class Louisiana-bred String King.

Major Marvel began his streak at Belmont Park in May. He was a $10,000 claim last April, and went on to win the $100,000 West Virginia Speaker’s Cup at Mountaineer.

“He’s a very honest, very classy horse,” Maker said.

The final leg of the pick four is the Super Derby.

Artemus Kitten heads River Cities

Artemus Kitten, who faced top-class competition when she ran eighth in last month’s Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington, is well spotted in the $100,000 River Cites. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is for fillies and mares.

“I think she’s a good fit,” Maker said. “Obviously, she ran against some pretty tough quality fillies last time. We were hoping for a Grade 1 placing. The class relief will do her well.”

Artemus Kitten had finished second in Arlington’s prep for the Beverly D., the Grade 3 Modesty, in July. She will be cutting back from 1 3/16 miles, and figures to be making her case in the later stages under jockey Chris Landeros.

Artemus Kitten is a three-time stakes winner at the distance of the River Cities.

◗ Mighty Brown, who is cross-entered in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park, shipped into Louisiana Downs on Thursday and will instead run here in the $100,000 Sunday Silence, said his trainer, Tim Ice. Mighty Brown will vie for favoritism in the one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds that also drew the winner of the local stakes prep, Got Shades.