05/15/2007 12:00AM

The nice problem with Raspberry Wine


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Trainer Al Stall Jr. has a problem many in his line of work would love to have following Raspberry Wine's win in Saturday's Seven Stars Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

The victory was the mare's fourth consecutive stakes triumph, two on the main track and two on turf.

So where does her future lie, turf or dirt?

"I don't think the surface matters at all," Stall said. "That kind of versatility gives us all kinds of options regarding her future races."

The immediate goals for Raspberry Wine, as for many of those coming out of Saturday's four stakes races here for Louisiana-breds, are Louisiana Legends Night on June 30 at Evangeline Downs and a return engagement here on Champions Day three weeks later.

Both of those lucrative programs are devoted exclusively to Louisiana-bred stakes races.

"The timing is going to be rather tight for us to do both," Stall said. "But our mare is hickory. She just wants to line it up and run."

Another Stall runner, The Q Club, did not do as well as Raspberry Wine on Saturday. Running in the Free Spirit's Joy Stakes, for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, he finished fifth after a slow start.

"He was a little fidgety in the gate," said Stall. "He was down there on the rail, and there is that gap out of the chute that he did not handle very well, either. As quick as he is, he does have a little trouble getting untracked sometimes."

Once The Q Club got his feet under him, he moved quickly up the inside to duel with 4-5 favorite Ceasers March, right into the teeth of a 21.90-second opening quarter. The Q Club understandably got tired in the stretch, in what was his first start since winning an entry-level allowance sprint at Fair Grounds on March 22.

"That colt is going to be all right," Stall said. "He is still eligible for nonwinners of three, so we are going to take our time with him and make sure he is 100 percent every time. The races are always out there for a Louisiana-bred, as is the purse money. The key is to have the horse right when opportunity presents itself."

Ketchikan resumes training

Stall also said that the stable's star 3-year-old, Ketchikan, is back in training following a minor setback that took him off the Kentucky Derby trail in early April following his gutty second-place finish to Circular Quay in the Louisiana Derby.

"It was just a bruise," he said. "We breezed him on Good Friday at Churchill and we were just getting ready to ship to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby when it popped up.

"It may actually have been a blessing. The Triple Crown is just so tough on a horse. Just let the heavy hitters keep entering and running. We will have a fresh horse for them when we come back."