12/17/2009 12:00AM

Nine stakes, one super card


NEW YORK - It's pretty cool that on the second-to-last Saturday of 2009, the best 2-year-old male of the year will be in action. We are, of course, talking about Lookin at Lucky, who, even if he did lose for the first time in his career in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was tons the best and missed by a head after enduring a very wide trip.

Lookin at Lucky goes in the Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. While those hoping to bang out a little Christmas cash Saturday might look beyond this race since Lookin at Lucky is a likely winner at a short price, Lookin at Lucky still turns what was easily the day's most important event into a must see.

There are, however, big doings Saturday at Fair Grounds. Billed as "Santa Super Saturday," with five stakes on the original schedule, the card has gotten even bigger. Four stakes that were rained out on last week's abbreviated Louisiana Champions Day program were brought back, including the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

Bonapaw Stakes

I'm as guilty as the next guy of falling too hard for horses who catch my eye and of sometimes hanging on too long to these horses, not knowing when to cut the cord. One of those horses is in this race. Grand Adventure got my attention 14 months ago, but I don't think I've held on to him too long. I believe this little "stable pet" of mine is in the right spot here to finally do me some good.

Grand Adventure impressed me when he won the Summer Stakes last year. I liked how, in only the second start of his career, he relaxed better in the early stages despite going a longer distance than he did in his debut. I also liked how he prevailed with a wide run despite his jockey losing the whip.

In fact, I was sufficiently taken with Grand Adventure to have picked him in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Even though Grand Adventure rewarded me with a 10th of 12 finish in the Breeders' Cup, I didn't hold it against him. He was compromised by a tough outside post, and he at least made a middle move and was still in contention in upper stretch before fading.

Nothing Grand Adventure has done this year has made me want to jump ship. He turned in a workmanlike win in his comeback in August, just the kind of effort on which he could build something meaningful. But he was immediately thrown to the wolves - namely, Ventura - when he ran in the , for which he was ill-prepared second start off a long layoff. Grand Adventure's surrender in the Woodbine Mile after setting a strong, pressured early pace can easily be overlooked.

Grand Adventure was back in a much more suitable spot last time out in the . I actually liked Field Commission in the Nearctic, and he won - hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day - but I thought Grand Adventure could get a piece of that race. Unfortunately, Grand Adventure was blocked at a crucial point in upper stretch and finished sixth. Still, despite his trouble, Grand Adventure was beaten less than three lengths for all the money and earned a career-best Beyer Figure while facing a group I think was better than the one he meets in this spot.

Gowell Stakes

This is the headliner at Turfway Park, and in my first pass through this race, I was attracted to Henry's Posse. Henry's Posse most recently was nailed in the last jump in an allowance race at Woodbine, a good effort, considering it was her first start in four months. It was a performance that harkened back to her romp over males in her debut in May. On second glance, however, it looked like there was a lot of other early speed in here that might make life miserable for Henry's Posse. I decided I wanted a closer and landed on Offlee Funny.

Offlee Funny finished third in the same race Henry's Posse comes out of and was no match for her that day. But the pace setup was different than it might be this time. Henry's Posse and the filly who beat her went around the track one-two, and the fractions really weren't that hot, suggesting Offlee Funny's late kick didn't get much of an assist. The abundance of early speed this time could provide Offlee Wild with a much more favorable pace scenario, and Offlee Funny has every license to take a big step forward in her third career start.

Louisiana Champions Day Sprint

It wouldn't surprise me to see Flashy Wise Cat dominate this rescheduled event from last week much like he did the allowance prep for this race. Then again, Flashy Wise Cat could regress off that recent win, since it was a career-best coming off a layoff. He also is making his stakes debut. Those factors make him a less than ideal proposition as the probable favorite.

I'm taking a flyer on Mr. Barracuda. I can overlook Mr. Barracuda's last two losses, which came on wet tracks, a surface that isn't his best. He is capable of closing, a style that fits what projects to be a hot early pace scenario, and he was a close second at a huge price in this race last year to the prolific Star Guitar.