09/06/2012 12:30PM

Louisiana Downs: Gantry preps for Breeders' Cup Sprint in Temperence Hill

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Gantry punched his ticket to the Breeders' Cup Sprint when he won the Smile in July.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Gantry’s road to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint will include a stop at Louisiana Downs on Saturday. He is part a five-horse field for the $50,000 Temperence Hill, the first of five undercard stakes supporting the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby.

Gantry stamped himself as a leading contender for this year’s Grade 1, $1.5 million BC Sprint at Santa Anita when he won the Grade 2, $400,000 Smile at Calder in his last start July 7. He rolled by five lengths, and earned his entry fees into the BC as part of the organization’s Win and You’re In program. The score came following a winter-spring season at Fair Grounds in which Gantry won three major stakes for his Louisiana-based connections of Brittlyn Stable, trainer Ron Faucheux, and jockey Richard Eramia. Saturday, he will invade from Evangeline Training Center near Lafayette, La., for what will be his final stepping-stone to the BC.

“I think this is the best road to get there for us personally, and for this horse,” said Faucheux. “Number one, the location was good for us. That’s a big part of it. I don’t think we need to go try and run against a lot of the heavy hitters. He’s done that and done it pretty successfully. We want to wait to run against those kinds of horses in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Gantry also is a horse who runs well fresh, and Faucheux said the timing of the Temperence Hill was appealing off the horse’s last start and looking forward to his BC race on Nov. 3. Gantry will break from the rail in the six-furlong stakes Saturday.

“I do wish we had kind of an outside draw, but being just a five-horse field I’m hoping it won’t matter so much now,” said Faucheux. “I’d rather get that draw in this race than the Breeders’ Cup.”

Gantry, as part of his preparations for his first start in two months, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Aug. 18.

“I think he’s extremely fit,” said Faucheux. “Through his works you can tell he’s fit and ready to run. The [time between starts] should be no issue whatsoever, especially coming off a deep surface at Calder only two months ago.

“He’s doing great. He’s doing just as good as he was going into the Smile, possibly even better. I feel like he just continues to progress.”

Faucheux said the ideal circumstances Saturday would be to see a strong, but not too-taxing effort from Gantry.

“He needs to run his race,” he said. “They got a couple of nice old class horses that should push him around there pretty good. Hopefully, we can get a win and it would be nice to do it comfortably.”

Gantry could get a tracking trip behind Delaunay.