12/01/2010 5:11PM

Margolis stocked for another strong meet

Email
Coady Photography
Bouquet Booth, winner of the Delta Downs Princess, is pointing to the $100,000 Silverbulletday on Jan. 22 at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Steve Margolis is having his best year ever in terms of wins and stable earnings, and the meet he had last season at Fair Grounds is behind some of that success. Margolis won with 29 percent of his starters and is now back in New Orleans with a deep stable of horses that includes Stay Put, who in his last start split the field in the Belmont Stakes; Join in the Dance, who was seventh in the 2009 Kentucky Derby; Cash Refund, who has never been beaten at Fair Grounds; and Bouquet Booth, who last month captured the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess.

“We definitely have some good stock to work with,” Margolis said.

Margolis, who won his first race in 2000, has won 64 races so far in 2010, for stable earnings of $2.4 million. The more than 40 horses he has settled in for the Fair Grounds meet are a nice mix of older runners and up-and-comers like Cheyann Belief. Undefeated in two starts, he will make his stakes debut later this month in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl for 2-year-olds, Margolis said.

On the same Dec. 18 card, Due Date, who was sixth last out in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, will target the $60,000 Bonapaw.

Bouquet Booth, meanwhile, remains on deck for the $100,000 Silverbulletday on Jan. 22 after coming out of the Delta Princess in good order. She was up for a half-length win in the race, one start after taking a maiden special weight at Keeneland.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how she develops,” Margolis said. “She’s improved in every one of her starts.”

Another promising young filly for the barn is Switching Gears, who won a maiden special weight by more than five lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27.

Cash Refund caught a sloppy track for the first time in his career last out, when fifth in an allowance at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25. He is scheduled to return to stakes action next month, with the target being a defense of his title in the $60,000 F.W. Gaudin Memorial on Jan. 22, Margolis said. Cash Refund is 4 for 4 in New Orleans.

Fletcher, Autrey reunite with My Star Runner

Owner Charlie Fletcher and trainer Cody Autrey, who a number of years ago won five consecutive stakes with Premier Dance, are back winning races together after Fletcher took a brief hiatus from the game. Their new stable star is My Star Runner, who ran his record to 4 for 5 last month when he won the $60,000 Sam’s Town at Delta in his first start for Autrey and Fletcher. He is headed next to the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds on Dec. 11.

Fletcher, who has owned horses for 30 years, called Autrey out of the blue earlier this year.

“He hadn’t had horses in at least a couple of years,” Autrey said. “I hadn’t spoken to him in a few years. He called me up, and I was at Delaware and he said, ‘Where’s all the good horses at?’ I said, ‘They’re always at Saratoga. You know where they’re at.’ He said, ‘I guess we better get a license over there.’ So I knew then he wanted to claim horses.”

But the more the two talked, Autrey pitched a different approach to Fletcher.

“I said, ‘We can claim five or six horses and win a few races and have a little fun, but it’s a little more expensive now to train horses.’ I told him ‘I’d rather have one good horse for you and we’ll win some nice races.’ So I called him on this horse here, and he said, ‘Go buy him.’ ”

My Star Runner had won all three of his races during the Louisiana Downs meet that closed in September, including a second-level allowance sprint with a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

◗ Superior Storm was to travel from Oaklawn to Fair Grounds on Friday to get settled in for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies on Dec. 11.

“She’ll work over the track this Sunday,” trainer Rick Jackson said.

Superior Storm became a millionaire last month when she held for a neck win in the $100,000 Magnolia at Delta, her first start since July.