07/25/2012 2:30PM

Louisiana Downs: Tensas Cold Front poses pleasant dilemma for Stall

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BOSSIER CITY, La. – Trainer Al Stall Jr. has a problem many Louisiana horsemen would love to have – where to race a 3-year-old statebred who can run. Run a lot.

The 3-year-old in question is Tensas Cold Front, and Stall’s enviable dilemma is whether to start him in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Derby against fellow Louisiana-breds on Aug. 18 or think bigger and try open company in the $100,000 Prelude Stakes on Aug. 4. In addition to the larger purse, the Prelude offers the winner an all-fees-paid berth to the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby on Sept. 8.

Stall is familiar with winning both statebred and open stakes. He trains the all-time leading Louisiana-bred Star Guitar, who has won the vast majority of his $1.75 million beating up on fellow Louisiana-breds. Stall sent out Apart for legendary Claiborne Farm to win the 2010 Prelude before he captured the Super Derby. Stall won last year’s Prelude with Trubs, who also raced under the Claiborne silks. In addition, Stall won the 2008 Super Derby with My Pal Charlie and ran second with Claiborne’s Blame in the meeting’s biggest race in 2009.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Stall from his usual midsummer base at Saratoga earlier this week. “Right now we are leaning toward the Prelude, but without seeing the nominations it’s good to have another option.”

Tensas Cold Front is not your typical Louisiana-bred. He is by the popular young sire War Front out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Kaileysgal, whose one other foal, Tensas Cat, won the Gentilly Stakes for Louisiana-breds at Fair Grounds in 2010. Stall collaborated with owner Cherry Valley Farm to purchase Tensas Cold Front out of the Fasig-Tipton Texas yearling sale in August 2010 for $40,000, considerably more than most Louisiana-bred youngsters go for.

“We went in after him,” Stall said. “He’s by the hottest sire going and Unbridled’s Song is starting to show some real promise as a solid broodmare sire. To be honest, we were prepared to pay more than we did for him. He’s got a full brother in the Keeneland yearling sale this fall, and from what I hear, he’s going to bring a whole lot more than $40,000.”

Tensas Cold Front won a maiden race by a modest half-length in May of this year, besting a full field of 12 statebreds. But it was his second start when he was stretched out to two turns that started the backstretch buzzing.

Under Chris Rosier, Tensas Cold Front dueled for the early lead in the mile and 70-yard allowance test before suddenly kicking clear down the lane to prevail by almost 16 lengths. That June 15 effort was validated when the runner-up, Beauty’s Pioneer, won an allowance race of his own in his next start by almost four lengths.

“He’s a big, strong colt,” Stall said. “We started on him as a 2-year-old but he got some shins – the usual for someone his size. We probably could have gotten him ready by the end of the Fair Grounds meeting in the spring, but we took our time. Hopefully he can continue to develop like we think he can.”