07/01/2011 3:43PM

Louisiana Downs: Pale Blazer looks to earn trip to Turf Monster


Pale Blazer has not made a wrong move while racing on the grass, and if he picks up his third straight win Sunday in the featured fifth race at Louisiana Downs, he could be headed to the Grade 3, $350,000 Turf Monster at Parx Racing.

Pale Blazer will start as one of the top choices in a $35,000 optional claimer that carries third-level allowance conditions. To be run at about five furlongs on turf, the race drew a field of seven, including multiple stakes winner John Charles.

Pale Blazer might see stakes action in the Turf Monster, a five-furlong turf race Sept. 5. But the first order of business comes Sunday, trainer Mike Burgess said. He would love to see Pale Blazer improve his turf sprint record to 4 for 4 when he breaks from the rail under Justin Shepherd.

“He just absolutely is a different horse on the turf than he is on the dirt,” Burgess said. “He showed that from the time he broke his maiden.”

Pale Blazer had been beaten in double digits the first two starts of his career, but when placed on turf for the first time last meet at Louisiana Downs, he romped by five lengths in a maiden special weight. He has raced two more times on the grass, in his last two starts. He won at Fair Grounds on March 21, then again at Evangeline Downs in his most recent out May 18.

“The time between races is deliberate,” Burgess said. “I think this horse could really be a nice turf sprinter next year, and with him being a 3-year-old having to run with older, I don’t want to grind this horse. He’ll maybe race two or three more times this year, then we’ll gear up for our 4-year-old year.”