08/02/2011 3:59PM

Louisiana Downs: A more relaxed Trubs may improve in Prelude

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Trubs has reason to take a significant step forward on Saturday when he makes his first start as a gelding in the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs. The mile and a sixteenth race is a prep for the Super Derby and it will anchor a program of four stakes worth $250,000.

Trubs, who won the $58,000 Black Gold earlier this year at Fair Grounds, will be making his first start since April 6 in the Prelude. He last ran at Evangeline Downs, finishing third in the $50,000 Inaugural.

“He’s been castrated since his last race,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains Trubs for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. “He was a little bit on edge all the time and he’s completely changed. Hopefully, that will help him.”

Stall said Shane Sellers has the mount. Trubs will be moving back to two turns for the first time since January, when he finished fourth to Decisive Moment in the $250,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs. Earlier in his career, Trubs won an allowance at a mile. He is by Grade 1 winner First Samurai, while his third dam produced Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero.

“We’ve been looking to stretch him back out,” said Stall.

Louisiana Downs racing secretary David Heitzmann said he is looking for about nine starters in the Prelude when entries are taken Wednesday. Those expected to meet Trubs include Amanecer De Oro, Destinare, Eddie’s Band, G.W.’s D’Oro, Get in Da House, Soaring Native, Strategic Game, and String King.

The Prelude is being run about three weeks earlier than last year because the date for the Super Derby, a Grade 2, $500,000 race Sept.  10, has been moved up from late September. The winner Saturday will earn a fees-paid berth into the Super Derby, a perk worth about $5,000.

On the Prelude undercard, there’s a pair of $50,000 stakes for 2-year-olds at 7 1/2 furlongs. Heitzmann said he expects a field of eight to nine horses for both the Sunny’s Halo and the Donnie Wilhite, which is for fillies. The $50,000 Barksdale, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up could draw 10 or 11 runners, said Heitzmann.

The three races should produce starters for some of the undercard stakes on Super Derby Day.

11-length winner takes next step

L S Grinder, an 11-length debut winner last month, returns to action in the fifth race Thursday at Louisiana Downs. The first-level allowance for fillies and mares is at six furlongs, the same distance over which L S Grinder won her debut. She earned a Beyer Figure of 73 for her effort against $20,000 maiden claiming rivals, which is the best last-race number in the Thursday field.

“She ran a nice race, a professional race, and so we thought we’d give her an opportunity to bump up a little bit,” trainer Ralph Irwin said of the step into the allowance ranks. “We’re real pleased with her. It was a nice race.”

L S Grinder, who races for Steve Noteboom, is by Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and from the mare Little Shon.

“I think her real niche is going to be stretching out,” Irwin said. “That was kind of our feeling. We’re just getting some maturity to her. I think later on she’s sure enough going to want to go two turns.”

* Star Guitar, the reigning Louisiana-bred horse of the year, is to breeze Sunday at Louisiana Downs. He is being pointed for the $125,000 Evangeline Mile on Aug. 13, said Stall. Star Guitar has won the race the last two years and overall is 5 for 5 at Evangeline.