06/23/2011 4:33PM

Louisiana Downs: Worthington trying turf after big win


Worthington, who put up one of the year’s best Beyer Speed Figures for a 2-year-old in his last start, will make both his stakes and turf debut Saturday in the $50,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs.

The five-furlong race will share a card with the $50,000 Princess, a turf sprint for 2-year-old fillies that drew a field of 10.

Worthington earned a Beyer of 83 when he won his maiden by seven lengths June 9 at Lone Star Park. The number is the fifth best among 2-year-olds at this point, and it was earned in a $20,000 maiden claiming sprint. The win came one start after Worthington, a Texas-bred gelding by Western Gambler, missed by a neck in a $25,000 maiden claimer May 15.

“The horse ended up in the maiden claiming races because out of the group we had out there, he was just a cut below them at that time,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Worthington. “I’m not so sure he’s a cut below them now. But you’ve got to realize what came out of that group. There were a lot of good 2-year-olds in that group. I think he’s moved forward a bunch. I know his second start he moved way forward.”

Calhoun’s current crop of 2-year-olds has been exceptional. His recent juvenile winners include Canigotoo, who earned a 96 Beyer – the highest this year for a North American juvenile – for his win in a maiden special weight last week at Lone Star, and Shocktime, who will start as a top choice in the Grade 3, $100,000 Debutante at Churchill Downs on Saturday after putting up the best Beyer for a 2-year-old filly to date, an 83, earlier this month at Lone Star.

As for Worthington, the move to turf might particularly suit him Saturday. Calhoun said the horse’s owner, Michael Stinson, pointed out there are grass influences in Worthington’s pedigree.

“He seemed to think he’d adapt well,” Calhoun said.

Worthington’s dam, Annis, was a winner on turf, and her sire is Texas Glitter, a Grade 3-winning turf sprinter who earned more than $800,000. Worthington, who was the first winner for his sire, will break from post 4 under Justin Shepherd.

In the Princess, Cajun Diva gets away from Shocktime, who she finished fifth to last out in the $92,000 fillies division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity. Don Simington has the mount for trainer Bob Schultz.

Lone Star: ‘U S C’ takes on winners

U S C Fight Song, who is a son of the Group 1-winning turf mare Shake the Yoke, is part of a competitive field in the featured eighth race Saturday at Lone Star Park. The first-level allowance will be run at a 1 1/16 miles on turf, and it drew a field of 10.

U S C Fight Song will be meeting winners for the first time after closing fast to win a maiden special weight turf route at Lone Star on May 26. Luis Quinonez has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.