04/05/2007 12:00AM

Probation Ready set to rebound


Probation Ready, the winner of the Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds in late January, is the horse to beat in the $50,000 Inaugural Stakes at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night.

The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds drew a field of six and will go as the ninth of 10 races. The 89-day Evangeline meet opened Wednesday night.

Following his victory in the Black Gold, Probation Ready shipped up to Oaklawn Park, where he was unplaced in the Mountain Valley Stakes in late February. A son of More Than Ready, Probation Ready has been freshened, and trainer Steve Asmussen is expecting a much better effort on Saturday.

"We sure didn't expect that last race," Asmussen said from Keeneland on Thursday morning. "He was training fine going in, it was just one of those races."

Dominic Terry will ride Probation Ready, who will be going for his fourth victory from eight starts. He will carry 122 pounds and spot his five rivals from two to five pounds under the allowance conditions of the Inaugural.

Heelbolt, a Louisiana-bred, has won 2 of his 3 starts with his loss coming by a head to open allowance foes. He will be making his first start going one turn in the Inaugural. The Ernest George-trained Heelbolt has raced exclusively at Delta Downs at seven furlongs, which is two turns there. Sidney Lejeune Jr. has the call at 119 pounds.

Trippi Toes, trained by Brandon Marks, also rates highly. A recent graduate for a $50,000 maiden claiming tag at Oaklawn, Trippi Toes worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.60 on March 27. Marks has given the call to Marlon St. Julien.