09/04/2013 1:42PM

Louisiana Downs: Redgrass Cat, Love Bullet contrasting Happy Ticket foes

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Redgrass Cat wins the Donnie Wilhite Memorial last month at Louisiana Downs and runs next on Saturday in the Happy Ticket.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Redgrass Cat and Love Bullet each won her last start, and they are going to get considerable attention in Saturday’s $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes on the Super Derby undercard. That, however, is where the similarities end between the 2-year-old fillies.

Redgrass Cat, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Bluegrass Cat whom Allen Milligan trains for owner-breeder Paul Rigali Jr., comes into the Happy Ticket after winning the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial at 7 1/2 furlongs here last month. The victory came in her sixth start and her fourth try on the turf.

Love Bullet, on the other hand, will be making both her stakes and turf debut in the Happy Ticket after winning her career debut in impressive fashion four weeks ago over the main track. She is a Florida-bred trained by Scotty McNair, who owns the Benny the Bull filly with Pettus Ponies LLC. McNair picked Love Bullet out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April sale this year for $20,000.

“I like everything about her,” McNair said earlier this week. “The way she looks, the way she acts. She’s one of the smartest 2-year-olds I’ve been around.”

Love Bullet has done everything right so far, setting the pace and pulling away by three lengths in her maiden score. She had a leisurely five-furlong maintenance work in 1:05 last Sunday, and McNair has pronounced her ready for a bigger challenge.

“I had her going faster than the clockers did, but it was really how she did it versus the time,” McNair said. “She just finished up so easy. Much like her maiden win.”

When asked if he thought the surface switch might be an issue, McNair said he was more concerned about the one-mile distance of the Happy Ticket.

“The mile could be a challenge,” he said. “But I don’t think the grass will. She does things so easily, though, I think she will run a good one.”

Distance and surface are definitely not in question with Redgrass Cat. Her enthusiastic rally through traffic in the two-turn Wilhite continued an improving trend that began when Milligan moved her to the turf after a couple of even performances over the Churchill Downs main track in May.

“We really moved her to the grass to stretch her out,” Milligan said. “She’s a better filly the more you give her to do.”

Milligan went on to say that plans are for Redgrass Cat to once again take back off the pace and make one run.

“That seems to be what she wants to do,” he said. “She’s had some adventurous trips thus far, but she got the job done last time.”

Ice back for Sunday Silence

Former Louisiana Downs regular Tim Ice, best known for sending out Summer Bird to a win in the 2009 Belmont Stakes, will be back in town Saturday to saddle Mighty Brown in the $100,000 Sunday Silence Stakes, which also is slated for the turf. Ice finished second in last year’s Sunday Silence with Brown Almighty, like Mighty Brown a son of Big Brown.

Mighty Brown has two second-place finishes along with a third in three career starts, which came at Arlington Park and Indiana Downs. He has yet to catch ideal footing, according to Ice.

“His first two were rained off to the main track, and when we finally got him to the grass last time, the turf was a little too giving,” Ice said. “He’s a bigger, stronger colt than Brown Almighty was at this stage, and I think some firmer footing will help.”

Ice is likely to get his wish. The hot and dry conditions that have been in place here the last several weeks are forecast to continue through the weekend.