06/21/2004 11:00PM

Moore a big plus for Fletcher's outfit


With two 3-year-old stakes winners this year, the visibility of Frank Fletcher Racing Operations has been high in the Louisiana-Arkansas-Texas area. And one of the key team members behind the scenes is Kathy Moore, a former jockey and racing official at Louisiana Downs.

Moore, 47, can now be found on the track's backstretch, checking in on colts like There Goes Rocket, the champion 2-year-old last year in Texas, and Old Lee, a two-time stakes winner in Louisiana. Both race for Fletcher, a prominent Arkansas-based businessman.

Moore joined on as racing manager for Fletcher in December 2000. She oversees Fletcher's racing and breeding operations, which currently totals between 21 and 23 horses. Three of those are broodmares, with two based in Louisiana and one in Texas.

"Mr. Fletcher, through Kathy, is developing a good stable," said Sam David Jr., one of three trainers employed by Fletcher. "He didn't have the time he really wanted to devote to the business. He was just able to come out when they ran.

"Now, he's updated through her daily, and knows right where he's at in the business. I think he enjoys it a lot more with the addition of Kathy."

David trains There Goes Rocket, as well as Old Lee. Other trainers employed by Fletcher are Bob Holthus, who is based in Kentucky, and W.T. Howard.

There Goes Rocket returned to training last week after having a small bone chip removed from an ankle. Moore said he is being pointed for a fall return at Louisiana Downs, with his other major objective the $100,000 Assault Stakes for Texas-breds at Lone Star Park near Dallas on Oct. 23.

Old Lee won the $40,000 B.B. Rayburn at Evangeline Downs in his last start May 22. Moore said he could make his next start Saturday in the $50,000 Excalibur at Louisiana Downs.

Moore, a native of Michigan, began race riding in 1979. She was the winningest female jockey at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., for 24 years until Cindy Noll broke her record in 1999.

During her time at Oaklawn, Moore met Fletcher, and became fast friends with him and his family. They stayed friends after Moore retired from riding in 1994, and a few years later, Fletcher decided to hire Moore.

"A lot of people ask, 'Do you miss being a jockey,' " Moore said. "I miss the rush, but doing what I do now, especially if it's a horse that we bought young, it's almost the same kind of rush when they win and you see all the connections so happy."

Moore said the goals of Fletcher's operation are straightforward. "Like everybody, he likes to see a good horse run," she said. "He likes to own a good horse. He also wants to win the Arkansas Derby. He's from Arkansas, and he would love to win the Arkansas Derby."

Quantis in featured first

For the second consecutive card, the best race on the Louisiana Downs program will go as the first. That was the case on Sunday, when the track ran the $50,000 Ark-La-Tex, and it will be the case on Thursday, when Quantis heads an optional claimer over six furlongs. The purse is $26,000.

Quantis should be a short-priced favorite based on his 9 3/4-length win over $25,000 claiming rivals last out. In that race he defeated former stakes winner Richest Half, as well as Worker Man, who returned in his next start to win.

Quantis has been given a nice amount of time to regroup from his front-running win, and is well-drawn outside the other speed horses in the race, Windsor Lodge and Sockitaway.

John Jacinto has the mount on Quantis for Gary and Mary West Stables. The gelding is trained by Cole Norman.