09/21/2011 3:16PM

Louisiana Downs: Showcase Day to show off local best


BOSSIER CITY, La. – Saturday has been designated Southern Showcase Day at Louisiana Downs and will feature some of the best young horses bred in Arkansas and Louisiana. Four stakes for 2-year-olds and a pair of one-mile turf events for 3-year-olds will be worth a combined $600,000.

Drawing considerable interest when the card was drawn on Wednesday was the $150,000 Elge Raspberry Stakes for 3-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies who were designated sales graduates. A total of 15 passed through the entry box, necessitating that the three fillies with the lowest amount of earnings be placed on the-also eligible or excluded lists. The remaining dozen fillies represent one of the most competitive races of the afternoon.

Tough Issie could rule a slight favorite in the Raspberry off the strength of a hard-earned allowance victory over the local turf just a week ago.

One of five winners ridden by young apprentice sensation C. J. McMahon last weekend, Tough Issie overcame traffic trouble in the second turn of that one-mile test before finding running room in upper straight thanks to some clever handling by McMahon. A daughter of Good and Tough, Tough Issie finished with good courage to prevail by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:38.40. The resulting Beyer Speed Figure of 71 represents the best last-race Beyer of the entire field. In her one other turf try, Tough Issie narrowly missed with another late rally over the Evangeline turf in late August. McMahon will once again handle the riding chores on Saturday for trainer Sam Breaux.

Honorary Gallop also merits consideration in the Raspberry after some steady performances over the Evangeline turf this summer. After breaking her maiden on the grass in June, the Victory Gallop filly has been knocking on the door in allowance company since. Trainer Doris Hebert has given the call to ride to veteran Tracy Hebert.

The Raspberry’s counterpart on the program for 3-year-old male Louisiana-bred sales grads is the $150,000 A. L. Erwin.

Also slated for one mile on the turf, the Erwin figures to have a short-priced favorite in the form of Get In Da House. Trained by Wes Hawley, he will seek to continue his Cinderella story after being claimed by Hawley for $10,000 at Fair Grounds out of a maiden claiming event on March 14. Included in this Grand Appointment gelding’s efforts since are victories in the Rajun Cajun Stakes and Louisiana Cup Derby as well as a solid third-place finish in the $100,000 Prelude Stakes against open company. Regular rider Don Simington will once again be in the saddle.

In the $50,000 Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds, Tricky Suspect rates as the one to beat off a powerful 7 1/2-length score at first asking against open maiden special weight company. He will be coupled with fellow Al Cates trainee Spartan, who was also a winner in his only start. Carlos Gonzalez is named on both halves of the entry.

In the Lady Razorback for Arkansas-bred juvenile fillies, Cates could send out another favorite with Primarily Payton. A daughter of Primary Suspect, she ran third against open maidens in her last start and will be adding blinkers for her stakes debut. Filemon Rodriguez has the call.

The seven-furlong, $100,000 Louisiana Stallion Stakes for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds will also be run in two divisions. Foreign Girl will seek a repeat of the effort that netted her a runaway nine-length maiden score in her only start in the filly division, while two-time stakes winner Broadway King tops the colt and gelding division.