08/08/2008 12:00AM

Perrodin resumes chase for 3,000


Jockey E.J. Perrodin's nine-month road to recovery ends on Sunday. He will return to the saddle in the seventh race at Louisiana Downs, his first mount since a frightening riding accident last winter that left him with a severely fractured pelvis, six broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a lacerated spleen.

Perrodin, 51, was injured on Nov. 23 at Fair Grounds. During the post parade for the final race on the card, his mount flipped and landed on top of him. Perrodin spent the next month in the intensive care unit of Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. During that time, he had a plate surgically placed in his pelvis to help repair three major breaks.

Perrodin returned to galloping horses a month ago at Louisiana Downs, and after working horses last weekend felt ready to begin what will likely be the final chapter in the career of one of the most noted riders in Louisiana. Perrodin is just 14 wins from career victory 3,000, which is one motivation for his return. The other is simply his love of race riding, something he has done since the age of 17, starting out in Lafayette, La., in 1973.

"I'm so happy to be back," said Perrodin. "Everybody said, 'Man, I thought you'd retire.' It's not going to be long. But as long as I'm doing good, I'm going to do it for another year or two. I don't want to go out the way I went out. I didn't want to go out in an ambulance. I hope the good Lord lets me take my two years and lets me walk out. That's all I want."

Perrodin, who has never had to battle his weight, said he gained just one pound during the nine months he was away from racing. His rehabilitation included bike riding. Upon his return to galloping horses last month, he said the first day back was a tough one.

"When I was doing all the bike riding, I was never sore," he said. "When I got on that first horse, my legs were burning like fire."

It did not take Perrodin long to get back in the swing of things, however, and many on the Louisiana Downs backstretch have marveled at how good he looks. Perrodin's first mount back will come in the seventh race, aboard Shiningrayofhope for a longtime patron, trainer Pat Mouton.

"I feel great," said Perrodin. "I don't even feel like I was hurt right now. I feel that I can do the job just as good or better. I feel the same way or better. I feel strong. I'm very happy to be back in the saddle. I missed it so much."

Perrodin has won major stakes in the region with such horses as Candid Glen, Sarah Lane's Oates, Waupaca, Clever Song, Police Inspector, and Composure. In all, he has won 2,986 races from 20,687 career starts, for mount earnings of $39,140,169.

Ex-claimer Parade the Flag will get stakes shot

Trainer Joe Duhon appears to have an up-and-coming sprinter on his hands in Parade the Flag. The horse has won 5 of his last 7 starts, his most recent score coming in a six-furlong optional claimer on July 31. Parade the Flag led throughout to win by three lengths, covering the distance in 1:10.He earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 92.

Duhon said down the road he will start looking at stakes for Parade the Flag, a 4-year-old owned by Hardy Farm. A son of Distorted Humor, Parade the Flag is a half-brother to Grade 2-winning sprinter Listen Here.

Hardy Farm claimed Parade the Flag for $12,500 out of a maiden race in March. The horse won that day, and has since knocked out two other claiming wins and a pair of optional claimers, both at Louisiana Downs.

"I want to keep him local here and see how good he gets," said Duhon. "During the winter, he could hit a light stake at Delta Downs or Sam Houston or Retama.

"I'd love to see him in the Thanksgiving Handicap [at Fair Grounds]. He's running fast enough to do that right now, and he's got enough back class. If he walks up the ladder, he deserves a shot."

Half-sister to millionaire in feature

Miss Patsy, a half-sister to $1.2 million earner Scott's Scoundrel, will start as a top contender in the featured eighth race Sunday, a first-level optional $16,000 claimer for fillies and mares at about a mile on turf.

Miss Patsy won her maiden at the distance in June. She is by Chester House and out of Powder Doll, a multiple stakes winner of $400,000. Powder Doll is also the dam of Scott's Scoundrel, who ranks as the second richest accredited Louisiana-bred of all time, behind Happy Ticket. John Jacinto has the mount on Miss Patsy for trainer Andrew Leggio.