09/21/2008 11:00PM

Plans for My Pal Charlie uncertain


Trainer Al Stall Jr. on Monday morning happily found himself charting some new territory. In last weekend's Super Derby winner, My Pal Charlie, he has a 3-year-old taking a major fall stakes five weeks from the Breeders' Cup. What's next is uncertain, however, as Stall was just beginning to delve into his options on Monday.

"We'll start at the top and work our way down," he said. "We'll look at the Classic and the Dirt Mile, and look at other things elsewhere. I'm not going to worry about it until the next day or two. Then I'll get the book out and see what's going on.

"We went into the Super Derby as 'This is the biggest race of his career,' and we treated it that way."

My Pal Charlie proved much the best in the Grade 2, $515,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Saturday. He tracked the pace from the rail, waited behind horses on the final turn, then shot through an opening approaching the quarter pole. From there, My Pal Charlie quickly separated himself from the field, storming home by 4 1/4 lengths and earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

"You have to like the turn of foot he showed," said Stall, who trains My Pal Charlie for B. Wayne Hughes.

The Super Derby was significant for Stall on several fronts. For one, it was the second most prestigious victory of his career behind Joyeux Danseur's win in the Grade 1 Early Times Turf Classic.

"It's in the exacta," Stall said.

He also noted the Super Derby win came in his home state. Stall has a division of horses at Louisiana Downs, as well as at Churchill Downs, where My Pal Charlie returned on Sunday. Stall said the horse was back in the barn by 9:30 a.m., and appeared to have come out of the race in excellent shape. He said among the other races under consideration for My Pal Charlie is the Grade 2, $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill on Nov. 28.

Macho Again, the 6-5 favorite in the Super Derby, had a rail trip for much of the race, angled out in the stretch, and rallied for second. He also was back at Churchill on Sunday.

"He came out of it good," said Dallas Stewart, who trains Macho Again for West Point Thoroughbreds. "He just had a little bit of trouble, a little bit of traffic trouble, but he ran well.

"We don't really know yet what we're going to do next. We're just starting to think about it."

Macho Again won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga in July.

Third-place finisher Forest Command was making his stakes and two-turn debut in the Super Derby. He is based at Keeneland.

"He came back all right," said John Ward, who trains Forest Command. "We were pleased with the performance, especially running out of the 10-hole."

Ward said next-race plans for Forest Command have yet to be determined. The horse came into the Super Derby off a six-length win over older rivals in an optional claiming race at Saratoga. He is a son of Grade 1 winners Monarchos and Forest Secrets.

* Louisiana Downs handled $7,139,542 on its 13-race card from all sources on Saturday, the second highest handle in the track's history. The previous best was $7.3 million on Super Derby Day in 2006. Officials estimated the ontrack crowd was about 14,000, and those patrons bet $879,800 on the live card.