08/06/2013 4:12PM

Louisiana Downs: Super Derby rematch up in the air

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Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Holiday Mischief nips Sunbean in the Prelude Stakes last Saturday.

Holiday Mischief and Sunbean put on a show in the $100,000 Prelude last Saturday at Louisiana Downs, when the pair finished a head apart in the prep for next month’s Grade  2, $500,000 Super Derby. But whether both horses return for the big dance is still being determined. Holiday Mischief is being tentatively pointed for the race, according to his trainer, Joe Offolter, while Sunbean’s next start is yet to be determined, said his trainer, Ron Faucheux.

Holiday Mischief stalked pacesetter and 1-2 favorite Sunbean in third in the Prelude, then put in a determined stretch bid to catch him on the wire. Holiday Mischief covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.20 and earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

“I thought he really put in a game effort,” Offolter said of Holiday Mischief. “For him to run that horse down, it was a big effort. That’s a nice horse.”

Offolter said Holiday Mischief shipped back to his Remington Park base on Sunday morning, where he will train up to a potential start in the Super Derby, a mile and an eighth race at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 7. Offolter said there is also the option of awaiting the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, which will be run at Remington on Sept. 29. Holiday Mischief earned a fees-paid berth into the Super Derby by virtue of his win in the Prelude.

“We’re going to point for the Super Derby and go from there,” Offolter said. “We’re just going to see how the race shapes up and see how he’s doing.”

Holiday Mischief won his first stakes in the Prelude, a few months after finishing second to Departing, winner of the West Virginia Derby last Saturday, in the $50,000 Texas Heritage at Sam Houston. Holiday Mischief is a son of Into Mischief, the sire of Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents. He was a $25,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland September in 2011, and he races for Offolter and Bill and Deb Carter of Colleyville, Texas.

“This is like the second horse they’ve ever owned,” Offolter said. “This is the second horse I ever bought for them.”

Sunbean won the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Mile at Evangeline Downs with a career-high Beyer of 96 in his start preceding the Prelude. He nearly made every step a winning one Saturday.

“He came back in good order,” Faucheux said. “We were pleased the way he ran. I think he came back with a 93 Beyer, which is a second lifetime-top number for him. And the horse that beat us is a really nice horse, got in a lot of trouble in some of his recent races. We were spotting him six pounds, and I think that might have made a difference. Sunbean’s also a horse that likes a target to run at, which he didn’t get Saturday. All things considered, he came back well and we’ll live to fight another day with him.”

Faucheux said he does not yet have a game plan set for Sunbean, who races for his breeder, Brittlyn Stable.

“We don’t have anything short or long term as of yet,” said Faucheux.

Pure Tactics win filled with emotion

Pure Tactics was impressive both visually and against the clock last Saturday at Louisiana Downs when he won the $50,000 Barksdale in course-record time. But his win was about so much more for his owner and trainer, Morris Nicks.

Pure Tactics was among a number of horses Don Eberts, 73, willed to Nicks, his longtime trainer. Eberts died in February after suffering a heart attack. He was a breeder and owner for some 30 years, among his many stakes winners were Groovy Jett, Northern Scene, Dixie Tactics, and Pretty Squall.

Pure Tactics became the latest Eberts-bred to win a stakes, when the 4-year-old by Pure Prize closed with authority to dominate the Barksdale by three lengths. He covered the mile on firm turf in 1:34.14.

“That was for Don,” Nicks said. “There’s a lot of sentiment there. All of the horses of racing age he willed to me. He took care of me about 30 years of his life, and he’s still taking care of me.”

Nicks said the next move with Pure Tactics is to be determined. He said he would consider the $100,000 Unbridled, a mile and a sixteenth turf race on the Super Derby undercard, but he said he has concerns about the distance for the horse. He is also looking at the $150,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash at six furlongs, or the $150,000 Franklin-Simpson at a mile, also on the turf at Kentucky Downs. Both races are Sept. 14.

Pure Tactics earned a career-high Beyer of 95 in the Barksdale.

Pick five jackpot at $771,000

The super pick five jackpot has a carryover of $771,947 heading into Thursday’s card at Louisiana Downs. The bet will run on the final five races of the eight-race program. The jackpot pays out when there is a single winning ticket on the pick-five sequence. It has not been hit since June 27.

◗ Ruidoso Downs on Friday has a $37,500 TriSuper carryover into its card. The bet runs on the fourth and sixth races.