06/14/2007 11:00PM

Minstrel may lure Galiano from Texas


Galiano, who last week became the first winner for champion Vindication with an impressive debut win in Texas, could be headed for stakes company at Louisiana Downs, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Galiano beat a promising field of 2-year-olds by four lengths in a maiden race at Lone Star Park on June 10. He broke on top in the 5 1/2-furlong race and set a pressured pace before easily drawing clear of his rivals. The field he defeated included offspring of Northern Afleet, Mt. Livermore, and Wekiva Springs.

"He's a very nice horse," Asmussen said of Galiano. "His next race will be a stakes. We'll nominate him to a few. I might run him in the Minstrel at Louisiana Downs because he's in this part of the country, and the timing is excellent."

The Minstrel, at five furlongs on turf, will be run on July 14.

Galiano is owned by his breeder, Padua Stables, which also raced Vindication. Undefeated as a 2-year-old, Vindication was the champion juvenile of 2002. He now stands at Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington, Ky. Galiano is out of the Gilded Time mare Gilded Minstrel, who is a half-sister to 1996 juvenile filly champion Storm Song.

Aside from a strong pedigree, Galiano has a number of other assets.

"He's very fast, a beautiful colt, and he's mature," Asmussen said. "When I say mature, [I mean] very mature mentally. You can do whatever you want with him. He's what you want in a horse."

Galiano will also be nominated to the Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star on July 29, said Asmussen.

Rematch brewing for River Cities

Asmussen said he plans to start My Three Sisters in the $50,000 River Cities here next Saturday. The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares is one of four stakes on the program, and Asmussen could have starters for as many as three of the races.

My Three Sisters is expected to face Carolina Sky in the River Cities. The last time the two faced off, Carolina Sky was a neck winner over My Three Sisters in the $60,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star on April 28.

"We'll try again against [Carolina Sky]," said Asmussen.

My Three Sisters, a stakes winner, is out of a full sister to past Louisiana Downs Handicap winner Zeeruler.

Santana Strings, a Grade 2 winner of $354,930, is being pointed for the $50,000 Temperence Hill, said Asmussen. The six-furlong race is for 3-year-olds and up.

He also said Western Prize is possible for the $50,000 Seeking the Gold, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. If he does not go there, Asmussen said Western Prize would be pointed for the $100,000 Alysheba BC at a mile on dirt at Lone Star on June 30. Western Prize is a stakes winner on dirt and multiple stakes-placed on turf.

Sprightly Star boasts best figure

Sprightly Star comes into the featured eighth race Sunday off a career-best Beyer Speed Figure,. The number is also the highest last-race Beyer in a field of first-level allowance runners going seven furlongs.

Sprightly Star, trained by James Hodges, earned a Beyer of 85 for his runner-up finish in a first-level allowance here May 26. The race won by Don's Boy has proven to be a productive one. Forty Acres, who finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Sprightly Star, returned in his next start to win a $50,000 optional claimer by 5 1/2 lengths. He earned a Beyer of 88.

Sprightly Star has excellent speed, and figures to be prominent under Donnie Meche.

Sprightly Star's competition includes Mysterious Merlin, who has won his last two starts by a combined 13 lengths for trainer Sam David Jr.

* In the second race, a $35,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares, Star of Idabel will be looking for her third win at the meet. She won at this level on May 4, and came back and won a starter allowance on May 17. In her most recent start, Star of Idabel was second in an off-the-turf optional claimer June 2. Trainer Dewaine Loy has given the mount to Carlos Gonzalez.