05/31/2012 2:30PM

Louisiana Downs: Old Bushmill fresh for John Franks Memorial


Old Bushmill will attempt to improve his record over the Louisiana Downs turf course to 4 for 4 on Saturday when he runs in the $50,000 John Franks Memorial. The one-mile race is one of two stakes on the card, both restricted to horses bred in Louisiana.

The races are the first stakes of the meet that began in May. Old Bushmill is part of a competitive, nine-horse field that includes fellow stakes winners Kissimmee Kyle, Productive Envoy, Wildrally, Classic Cascade, and String King.

“That group, we’ve all beat each other,” said Morris Nicks, who trains Old Bushmill.

Old Bushmill came to hand over the Louisiana Downs turf course last season, when he won a maiden race May 14, a first-level allowance July 4, and the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic on Aug. 20. The Franks will be the horse’s first start since March 2, with the three months between starts by design, Nicks said.

“That’s him,” he said. “He needs time after each race. If everything goes good, then you probably won’t seem him until [the Louisiana Cup] in August. I’m just trying to space these out.

“The prep race the other day, we skipped it to wait for this race. It was too close. Not for a lot of horses, but for Old Bushmill it was. If you look at his record, when he’s fresh he runs good.”

Old Bushmill shows a nice series of works for the Franks, among them a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 on May 12. The move was the fastest of 43 at the distance that morning at Louisiana Downs. He is seeking to rebound from a fourth-place effort in a March 2 allowance at Fair Grounds. He was beaten two lengths as the favorite, finishing behind winner Wildrally, String King, and Classic Cascade.

“He kind of hung at the end,” Nicks said. “He came back out of that with a bruised foot.”

Mark Guidry has the mount on Old Bushmill, a 4-year-old half-brother to Ide Like a Double, a seven-time stakes winner who has earned $632,416. Old Bushmill, who will break from post 5, races for Larry L. Johnson.

Kissimmee Kyle, winner of the Franks in 2010, figures to go favored Saturday after his win in the $60,000 Bayou St. Johns at Fair Grounds on April 1. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91, which is the best last-race number in the Franks. Jamie Theriot has the mount for trainer Al Stall Jr.

In the $50,000 Honeymoon for fillies and mares at a mile on turf, Beverly Belle will be seeking her second stakes win in her last three starts. She won the $60,000 Red Camelia at Fair Grounds on March 31, then was third as the favorite in an allowance prep for the Honeymoon. Beverly Belle was shortening up from 1 1/16 miles for the May 11 prep and should be sharper in her second straight start at a mile Saturday. Bret Calhoun trains Beverly Belle for Morris Hewitt and has given the mount to Chris Rosier.

Little Polka Dot, who was second in the Red Camelia, also returns in the Honeymoon. She will have to overcome post 12, but has natural speed and is coming out of a five-furlong stakes at Evangeline Downs, the $50,000 Tellike in which she was beaten a neck May 19. John Jacinto has the mount for trainer Patrick Devereux.