06/01/2009 11:00PM

Nicks has plan for Tensas Yucatan


A few years ago at Louisiana Downs, trainer Morris Nicks commented to a visitor how impressed he was with the horsemanship of his new assistant. Saturday, he will be watching closely as Tim Ice, now his former assistant, sends out Summer Bird in the $1 million Belmont Stakes.

"I'm real proud for him," said Nicks.

Nicks was the last trainer Ice, 34, worked for prior to launching his own training career in June 2008 at Louisiana Downs. Ice was with Nicks for about two years, when Nicks had multiple stakes winners Carolina Sky and Smitty's Sunshine. Ice now has a 25-horse stable at Louisiana Downs.

"He was a very good horseman," Nicks said of Ice. "He seemed like he could stay on top of things. He didn't have to wait until a problem occurred. He could foresee it and that goes along with training. Prevention means a whole lot. Some people wait too long to make changes. He could be in front of things."

Nicks is in the midst of another strong season at Louisiana Downs, where he enters the race week tied for second in the trainer standings. He has won with six of 19 starters, with his most noted win coming in the $50,000 Honeymoon on May 15 with Tensas Yucatan. It was the second straight stakes win for the Louisiana-bred mare, who is 3 for 3 this year for owner James Spence.

"She showed up again," Nicks said. "She's just going forward this year."

Nicks said the meet objective for Tensas Yucatan is the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff at 1 1/16 miles on turf Aug. 1. She could start once before that race, possibly in the $50,000 Top Corsage at Louisiana Downs on June 13.

"If you notice, she runs big fresh," said Nicks. "If we run her in that time frame, that would give me six weeks before the [Distaff.]"

Nicks said that later this year Tensas Yucatan could test her skills against graded company.

Other top runners for the barn this meet include Master Link, the winner of the $100,000 Lassie at Fair Grounds last December. In her first start at 3 she was second by a half-length in the $50,000 Fantasia at Louisiana Downs on May 16.

Zimmerman set to ride Thursday

Jockey Ramsey Zimmerman, who went down in a scary-looking incident during last Saturday's fourth race at Louisiana Downs, was released from a local hospital Sunday and is scheduled to ride on Thursday, said his agent Richie Price.

Zimmerman sustained a mild concussion when he was thrown from his mount, first-time starter Woodrow Call, in the stretch run of a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds.

"He's okay," Price said. "Nothing's broken. He had a slight concussion, but two CAT scans came back with nothing. We plan on riding Thursday. Everything's good."

State champs of 2008 announced

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association will present its annual awards Saturday night at Evangeline Downs. The 2008 horse of the year title will be announced at that time, but the organization has released the names of its divisional winners for last year, which were determined by a vote of the membership of the LTBA.

Autobeacat is the older male; Coach Mike, older female; Ide Like a Double, 3-year-old; Superior Storm, 3-year-old filly; Foreign Production, 2-year-old colt; and Morning Memory, 2-year-old filly.

Bill Boorhem, who owns Foxwood Plantation, will pick up his seventh straight leading breeder award Saturday night. The leading stallion by Louisiana-bred progeny earnings in 2008 was Leestown, with $2,495,892.

* Zydeco Diva will attempt to transfer her sharp turf form to dirt in the second race Thursday, a first-level allowance for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. She comes into the race off a $40,000 maiden claiming win on turf. Zydeco Diva has since worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.80 seconds. Trainer John Locke has given the mount to Richard Eramia.