07/04/2003 11:00PM

Louisiana Downs: 'Kid' wins again

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Reformed claimer Storybook Kid continued his rags to riches saga, unleashing a powerful rally down the stretch to capture the $75,000 Independence Handicap. Skate Away finished a head behind in second, followed closely by pacesetter Dash for Daylight. The race was hotly contested with less than 2 1/2 lengths separating the entire seven-horse field.

Jockey Don Simington was content to settle Storybook Kid ($5.20) well off the soft opening fractions of 25.15 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.79 for a half-mile that Dash for Daylight was allowed to get away with early. Gerard Melancon had a snug hold on Skate Away just behind the early leader and moved to challenge around the second turn.

Skate Away put a head in front just inside the furlong pole when set down, but Simington had swung the winner out to the middle part of the course by that time and closed with a rush to be along in time. The final time over the firm Sawyer Turf Course was 1:43.24 for 1 1/16 miles.

Claimed by trainer Pat Mouton for owner Stanley Seelig at Fair Grounds in March, Storybook Kid won for the third time in four starts for his new connections.