11/24/2006 12:00AM

Proctor puts meet in plans


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Tom Proctor has raced horses pretty much all across the country - but never at Fair Grounds. His first starter here comes Saturday, and Proctor, with more than 20 Fair Grounds stalls for the winter, should be heard from during the meet.

Proctor typically winters at Tampa and will have horses there again this year, but he branched out to Fair Grounds to try to find winter spots for some of the higher-class horses in his stable who aren't getting a seasonal break.

"Logistically, it works out pretty well getting between Fair Grounds and Tampa," Proctor said. "And the money's good there, too."

Among the higher-class stock bound for Fair Grounds racing is Purim, who has been out of action since he finished second by a head in the $109,000 Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Opening Verse is a turf race, and though earlier in the year Purim won the Grade 3 Razorback on Oaklawn Park dirt, Proctor will stick to grass for now. He said he entered Purim in an allowance race that failed to fill this week, and instead will target the Dec. 16 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap, a $75,000 turf stakes. Purim definitely is ready to do something: He has worked three times since shipping into Fair Grounds, twice posting bullet five-furlong moves, once going a strong six furlongs.

Cryptoquip, a 3-year-old filly who finished sixth Thursday in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill, also will join Proctor's Fair Grounds string after getting a rest.

Time for Etbauer heads feature

Trainer Brett Calhoun appears to have found a good spot for Time for Etbauer in Sunday's feature race at Fair Grounds, a $75,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs. A 5-year-old mare, Time for Etbauer is one of two horses in the field of seven being offered for the $75,000 tag.

"I'm familiar with a few of the horses in the race, and I think she fits in this spot," said Calhoun.

Time for Etbauer ran in stakes races at 3 and 4 before suffering a series of physical setbacks. She has come to hand recently under Calhoun's care.

"She had a minor injury and had some time off, then she kicked the wall and hurt herself," said Calhoun. "We ran her on the turf at Arlington. We were optimistic, but she wasn't back to herself yet."

Time for Etbauer came to life at Hawthorne, using her raw speed to win a pair of sprint races.

"Right now she seems to be going well," said Calhoun.

The Fair Grounds main surface has been showing a speed bias, which should be an advantage for Time for Etbauer, who is usually an aggressive mare.

"It sure won't hurt her," said Calhoun. "She'll be in the race early."

Time for Etbauer may face pace pressure from Mykindasaint, a Bubba Cascio-trained filly who has been off since July. She has been working bullets, however, and she set the pace in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park last October.

Others in the race include Tensas Star, who won the $99,000 Victoria for Louisiana-breds in her last start Aug. 19 at Louisiana Downs; Golden Demand, who is coming off a pair of wins against Louisiana-breds; and Follow the Lite, who has won on both dirt and grass. A 4-year-old filly, Follow the Lite was claimed by Patrick Mouton for $50,000 out of her last start and will be offered for the $75,000 tag.

The third race on the card, a first-level allowance for 2-year-old fillies, features some talented runners who may figure in the longer stakes races next year. Albert Stall Jr. saddles Total, who ran second in a Saratoga maiden race before winning at Keeneland in her second start. The race also includes Expertise, a Scott Blasi-trained filly who ran in the Grade 3 Schuylerville and the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga and finished third in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park.

Plan works out for Cort's P.B.

Mouton's job is to train racehorses, but Sept. 15 he had some emergency office work to do. Mouton and owner Maggi Moss claimed Cort's P.B. for $40,000 that day from a race at Louisiana Downs, and on the same afternoon early nominations to Fair Grounds's Louisiana Champions Day closed. Mouton rushed Cort's P.B.'s necessary information to Fair Grounds officials, and now he has a prime contender for the Champions Day Sprint. Mouton said he mainly was looking to prep Cort's P.B. for Champion's Day when he started him in the Thanksgiving Handicap. Cort's P.B. not only got his prep, he got a win, too, leading all the way for a one-length score.

"Not bad, getting $45,000 for a prep race," Mouton said. "I thought he'd run well - didn't know if he'd win it."

Mouton took Cort's P.B. from trainer Keith Bourgeois and said he didn't make any major changes after the acquisition. Cort's P.B. had won a $75,000 stakes race in July, but has had his ups and downs since beginning his career late in 2003. In June 2005, Cort's P.B. ran for a $10,000 claiming price and lost. But for now, at least, he's a stakes horse.

Gonzalez off to fast start

Jockey Carlos Gonzalez didn't waste any time making an impression on Fair Grounds trainers, winning a pair of races on opening day, including a photo finish aboard Fenway Park at 43-1.

"I thought the other horse won," said Gonzalez's agent, Richard Price. "I said to myself he rode the horse well, but he got passed at the end. Somehow he got that nose back in front on the wire."

Price said he knows a victory like that attracts attention.

"It's important to win on opening weekend if you're trying to establish yourself at a race meeting," he said. "If you win a couple early, people take notice. If it doesn't work out here we could go to Hot Springs, but we'd like to pick up some good mounts here, win our share of races, and hopefully we'll be in the top few in the jockey standings."

- additional reporting by John Swenson