12/10/2010 12:26PM

Perfect Easter would prefer a fast track

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Ralph Nicks likes what he sees about the race in which he will run a 4-year-old gelding named Perfect Easter – as long as the Fair Grounds main track is reasonably fast Sunday.

“It looks like he’ll be real salty against those horses he’s up against,” said Nicks, “although he does like to hear his feet rattle.”

Perfect Easter, with Robby Albarardo to ride, looks like the horse to beat in the ninth and richest of 10 Sunday races at the New Orleans track, a $47,000, first-level allowance at six furlongs. Perfect Easter was assigned post 1 among the seven horses entered.

Perfect Easter was making his first start in nearly eight months when he finished a respectable fourth in a five-furlong turf allowance on Nov. 13 at Churchill Downs. Nicks said Perfect Easter “has always been kind of fragile” but has been in relatively good health in recent weeks.

“I thought he had a horrible trip over a falling-down turf course there in Louisville,” said Nicks, the former longtime Bill Mott assistant whose horses have earned more than $6.4 million since he went out on his own in 2004. “He needs it fast. You’ll notice that pretty much every time he’s had a fast track, he’s run fast.”

The long-term weather forecast for New Orleans called for Saturday night showers followed by wind and cooler temperatures on Sunday, so it remains to be seen whether conditions will be ideal.

Perfect Easter was bred and is owned by David and Dana Garner, residents of Simpsonville, Ky. The best horse Nicks has trained for the Garners is Cool Conductor, a two-time graded stakes winner of $641,395.

Likely to challenge Perfect Easter for favoritism is Crider, another horse who returned to action at the Churchill fall meet following a layoff. Crider was good enough to finish second in the Lone Star Derby in May, but it might be the colt needs more distance than these six furlongs to be effective. Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Others in with a chance include Be Me and Sorrel of the Sea, both in off solid efforts.

First post Sunday is 12:40 p.m. Central. Other races of interest include a starter allowance (race 7) and a maiden special-weight (race 8).