05/02/2007 11:00PM

Mouton stocked for success


Trainer Pat Mouton would like nothing better than to get off to a hot start to the Louisiana Downs meeting that began Friday, but not for the reasons most of us would expect.

"Being leading trainer is not something that we have sat down and established as a goal of ours," Mouton said at Wednesday's pre-meet media luncheon. "Our focus is to win as many races as we can and make as many owners as happy as we can. If we do that, the standings will take care of themselves."

Mouton, second in the trainer standings here last season to perennial champ Cole Norman, is the choice of many to win the title this season. Norman, the winner of the last nine titles, is currently serving a six-month suspension for a drug infraction, guaranteeing a new name on top of the trainer ranks for 2007.

"We've got 40 head here," Mouton said. "Most of those we had last year are back. We have some 2-year-olds coming up but we have not really gotten serious with them yet."

Among those from the Mouton barn that enjoyed success last season was the meeting's champion sprinter Venomous and champion older horse Erroneous I D. Stakes winners Hottamolly and Nob Hill Deelite also contributed to the barn's success.

Mouton is coming off a solid Fair Grounds meeting, where he won 32 races.

One new face hailing from Mouton's shed row is Rungius, claimed for $35,000 in his final start at Fair Grounds in February. Mouton will send the 4-year-old Rungius out in Saturday's featured 10th race, a second-level optional claimer at five furlongs on the turf that is also open to $35,000 claiming stock.

Rungius will be returning to the grass after being freshened following a troubled fourth-place finish over the Fair Grounds turf in an open $35,000 claimer on Feb. 5. After lunging at the break, he turned in a

belated rally, and was beaten slightly more than four lengths. He has won on the grass, notching a victory at Saturday's distance over the Arlington turf course last August in wire-to-wire fashion. E.J. Perrodin, synonymous with Mouton's success in recent seasons, has the mount.

Camsdancer, a winner here last summer sprinting on the turf in nonwinners-of-three company, will attempt the grass for just the third time. The 5-year-old Camsdancer finished a close third under similar conditions to Saturday's race last September. His regular jockey, Jeff Burningham, will once again ride.