Updated on 09/16/2011 7:54AM

Mongoose, Graeme Hall heading to New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer James Bond said Monday that , winner of the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in his last race, was likely to ship to New Orleans this week and run in Sunday's $500,000 New Orleans Handicap.

Mongoose's presence would further strengthen a race that's coming up very tough. The field is also likely to include Whirlaway Stakes winner Valhol and two other Florida shippers, Kiss a Native and Graeme Hall. Kiss a Native finished third and was placed second in the Donn. Graeme Hall, a Grade 2 winner, finished eighth in the Donn, his first start since November.

Mongoose defeated Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos in his first start of the year, a Jan. 19 allowance race, before winning the Donn by a neck over Red Bullet. The Donn was Mongoose's first stakes win, and the two recent starts were his first for Bond, who took over the 4-year-old's training this winter for owners Gary and Mary West.

"He's been doing very well," said Bond. "He worked five-eighths this morning." Mongoose's work at Payson Park was timed in 1:01.20, the fastest of eight five-furlong works Monday morning. Bond said that if Mongoose came out of the work well, he could ship here by plane on Wednesday. Edgar Prado, aboard for the Donn win, would ride Mongoose on Sunday.

Graeme Hall was also scheduled to be on that Wednesday flight, and trainer Todd Pletcher can send him right into his Fair Grounds string. Graeme Hall worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday at Gulfstream. "I liked the way he's trained, and I liked his work today," Pletcher said.

Kiss a Native, meanwhile, is scheduled to van here from trainer Bill White's Calder base this week. The van trip will take about 15 or 16 hours. Kiss a Native, who has won 10 of his 20 starts, made a strong late run after dropping far back and finished third in the Donn. He was placed second when the second-place finisher, Red Bullet, was disqualified.

"It's always tough to ship out of south Florida," White said. "It's logistically tough to campaign a good horse when you're based at Calder like I am. But he's been around, and I expect him to ship well."

Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Valhol, who was very sharp winning the Diplomat Way Handicap here three weeks ago, and who continues to train well.

Parade Leader, Milwaukee Brew, and Oak Hall are also possible for the race.

Descapate may run next at Oaklawn

Owners Team Valor and Bill Heiligbrodt and trainer Steve Asmussen unleashed a monster here last Saturday when Descapate won the Chou Croute Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths. She was the easiest sort of winner despite having never run in a stakes race and breaking from post 10, a tough spot in a route race here. Before Descapate's win, posts 10, 11, and 12 were a combined 3 for 47 in route races this meet.

"She rose to the occasion and ran a great race," Asmussen said. "I think the difference was her rating this time and not worrying about who was on the lead. She'd been showing that she was capable of that in the morning."

Descapate, a 4-year-old Dehere filly, was privately purchased after her debut win last summer at Churchill. She ran in four allowance races after that, winning two, and had been on the lead in all her starts. This time, she tracked the pacesetters, attacked coming off the far turn, and was in a different league than her rivals.

Asmussen now will look to Oaklawn Park for Descapate's next race, which could be the Oaklawn Park Breeders' Cup on March 16. If she runs well in that spot, Descapate would be considered for the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 6.

"We're on the right page for that kind of race," Asmussen said. "But there are things that are going to have to go her way."

Histoire Sainte bumped, bruised

Asmussen still wasn't certain Monday if Histoire Sainte would start Saturday in the Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race she won two years ago. Histoire Sainte, who won the Sixty Sails Handicap here in her last start, recently was involved in a training accident when a loose horse ran into her, and Asmussen said she remains a bit body sore.

"We're still on the fence," he said.

Histoire Sainte was scheduled to have an easy breeze Wednesday that will help Asmussen assess her status for the race.

The $150,000 Bayou BC, run at about 1 1/8 miles on turf, is likely to draw a small field. Besides Histoire Sainte, the possibles for the race are Lady of Peace, Sarah Lane's Oates, Tabianka, Temis, and Vencera.