09/22/2008 12:00AM

My Pal Charlie dominates Super Derby

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By MARY RAMPELLINI

BOSSIER CITY, La. - My Pal Charlie, who has been racing in graded stakes company since March, broke through with his first win at that level in a big way Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. He pulled away to a 4 1/4-length win over favorite Macho Again. It was another neck back in third to second choice Forest Command.

My Pal Charlie ($15) broke with the field and settled in third along the rail as Stungbythestorm moved to the lead with Star Production in close pursuit. Those two raced through fractions of 23.14 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.65 for the half-mile mark, and 1:11.81 for six furlongs. My Pal Charlie began to move up on the turn, had the lead into the stretch and kicked on, covering the mile and an eighth on a fast track in 1:48.36.

"He came home sprinting," said Curt Bourque, who rode Bwana Charlie for trainer Al Stall Jr. "He ran a great race. He was real strong."

My Pal Charlie's final time was the fastest mile and an eighth Super Derby in five runnings at the distance. The previous best was Strong Contender in 2006 in 1:48.60. The Super Derby has been run at a mile and a quarter for the bulk of its 29 editions.

My Pal Charlie races for B. Wayne Hughes. He had shown great promise earlier in the year when he was second to Pyro in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March. He proceeded to pick up checks in four more graded races before breaking through in the Super Derby.

My Pal Charlie earned $275,000 for his win, which was his third from 11 career starts. He has now earned $534,163. My Pal Charlie is a son of Indian Charlie.

Jonesboro takes Tiznow

Jonesboro was resilient on the front end in the $150,000 Tiznow Handicap, winning the mile and a sixteenth race by a 1 3/4 lengths over Autobeacat. It was another neck back in third to Smokeyjonessutton.

The Tiznow was one of five undercard stakes supporting the Super Derby, which is the richest race of the meet at Louisiana Downs.

Jonesboro ($3.60) was situated along the rail in a three-way front-end battle with Smokeyjonessutton and Longley, as the trio raced through fractions of 23.43 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.02 for the half-mile mark and 1:11.59 for six furlongs. Jonesboro kicked away in the stretch under Robby Albarado, and covered the distance in 1:44.22.

"He got it done," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Michael Langford. "The way the track was playing today, we wanted to put him on the lead. But he really didn't break like he normally does, I didn't think, but he was able to get to the front."

The Tiznow was a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, and Morse said a start in the race was unlikely, but did not rule it out. Jonesboro, who is a multiple Grade 3 winner, earned $90,000 for his win in the Tiznow.

Albarado bags three stakes

Jonesboro was one of three stakes winners Albarado had on the card Saturday. He also was aboard Abbott Hall ($4.60), who dominated 2-year-old fillies on turf when she won the $150,000 Happy Ticket by six lengths over Meaux Speed. Abbott Hall is trained by Hal Wiggins.

Later on the card, Albarado won the $200,000 Unbridled with Steve's Double ($6.40), who was up for a half-length win over Tricky Causeway. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to Ernesto. Stev'’s Double is trained by Ronny Werner.

* Tortuga Flats's ($17.40) love of the Louisiana Downs turf course was evident once again as she drove to a length win over Pleasantly Blessed in the $100,000 River Cities. Kirk LeBlanc was aboard for trainer Ralph Irwin.

* City Style ($41.40) rolled to a two-length win over Classy Gentlemen in the $100,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds on turf. Tony McNeil rode the winner for trainer Cheryl Asmussen.

* Handle on the 13-race card from all sources was $7,139,542, which is the second highest handle in the history of Louisiana Downs. The highest was $7.3 million on Super Derby Day in 2006.