06/02/2011 4:37PM

Louisiana Downs: Snug gets to avoid his nemesis

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Snug is sort of the Sham of the older Louisiana-bred ranks. He would arguably be his division’s leader were it not for Star Guitar, just as many believed Sham would have been the top 3-year-old back in 1973 had he not been part of the same crop as Secretariat.

Snug, 6, played runner-up to Star Guitar in the two richest Louisiana-bred stakes on the calendar last winter, the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds in December, and the $200,000 Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs in February.

Saturday, he gets away from Star Guitar in the $50,000 John Franks Memorial, one of two statebred stakes that open the stakes schedule at Louisiana Downs. Star Guitar is passing on the one-mile turf race to await a main track stakes at Evangeline Downs.

Snug, meanwhile, is a multiple winner on the grass. He took the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic last spring at Louisiana Downs, darting to a 1 1/2-length win to earn one of the best Beyer Figures of his career, a 91.

“He’ll run on grass or dirt, it doesn’t make much difference to him,” said Jim Hudson, who trains Snug for Heiligbrodt Racing. “He’s just about as good on one as he is the other, which makes him a really nice horse.”

Snug, a winner of 9 of 34 starts and $627,520, will have a couple of variables working against him Saturday. The Franks will be his first start off a layoff, and to win he will have to overcome post 9 in the field of 12.

“I worry about the layoff a little bit more than I do the post,” Hudson said. “But he’s doing well, and hopefully, he’s fit enough.”

Snug last raced March 19 and was second by a half-length in a $60,000 allowance at Delta Downs. He was edged by Break Up, who will run Saturday night at Evangeline in an allowance that also drew comebacking stakes winner Ide Like a Double.

As for Snug, he won the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta off a two-month break in November. And, his win in the Louisiana Cup, at 1 1/16 miles, came from post 11. He is coupled with Hallway.

In the $50,000 Honeymoon for fillies and mares at a mile on turf, Local will make her stakes debut after finishing third by a neck in an open-company allowance May 13. It was her first turf start.

“She ran well enough to make me feel she deserves a shot,” Hudson said. “She had a little bit of a problem turning for home. She got hung up. She had to check just a little bit. If that hadn’t have happened, she might have won by the distance she got beat. She ran well.”