09/01/2003 11:00PM

Questionable ride exonerated


Fans who wagered on Lincoln Center in the 12th race at Louisiana Downs on Saturday had a few anxious moments in the stretch, but in the end everything worked out: The bettors got paid, and the stewards, after talking to jockey Carlos Gonzalez, determined that he acted properly aboard Lincoln Center, who won by a nose.

To some, Gonzalez's ride looked strange. According to the Equibase chart footnote, Lincoln Center raced with the pace from the start and was under "stout restraint" on the backstretch while attempting to lug outward. The footnote then says that Lincoln Center continued to be "hard-held through the lane, narrowly gaining the nod."

After the race, the stewards called an inquiry "regarding the posture of the winner through the stretch," according to the chart. The result stood, with 3-1 shot Lincoln Center a nose winner over 3-5 favorite Chill A' Dude. Both horses are trained by Cole Norman.

After the race, stewards conducted a follow-up interview with Gonzalez.

"Carlos came in, we asked him a few questions, and we were satisfied with what he said," said Coleman Lloyd, a steward at Louisiana Downs.

Lloyd said Gonzalez explained he had a difficult time controlling Lincoln Center, a horse who carries his head low, because he was lugging out. It was the first time Gonzalez had ridden Lincoln Center.

Gonzalez, who is one of the all-time winningest riders at Louisiana Downs, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Kool Humor targets Super Derby

Kool Humor wasn't supposed to run in the $50,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs last Saturday. But his owner, Tom Durant, changed game plans and decided to go for the race, with the result being a strong two-length win by Kool Humor.

It was the confidence-builder Durant was hoping Kool Humor would get after he ran sixth last month in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park.

"We wanted to build his heart back up and have him ready for the Super Derby," said Durant.

That's the next start for Kool Humor. The 1 1/8-mile Super Derby will be held at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20.

Durant said that Jack Bruner, who trains Kool Humor, was pleased with how the gelding finished the Prelude under jockey Kerwin Clark.

"Jack said [Clark] had a lot of horse left at the end. Hopefully that means good things," said Durant.

Durant purchased Kool Humor as a 2-year-old in training for $60,000. He liked the horse's long stride, and the fact that he was by Distorted Humor. At the time, Durant owned Awesome Humor, a daughter of Distorted Humor, who had impressed him in her training.

Awesome Humor later won the Grade 3 Debutante for Durant before being sold and going on to win the Grade 1 Spinaway. Distorted Humor is also the sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

'Zydeco' and 'King' to Super Derby

Zydeco Affair and Crowned King, who finished second and third to Kool Humor in the Prelude, are both being pointed for the Super Derby.

"My rider said 'run him,' " said Larry Robideaux Jr., who trains Zydeco Affair for David Beard.

Jockey Gerard Melancon was obviously pleased with Zydeco Affair's finish in the Prelude, and Robideaux said the plan is to run him in the Super Derby.

For the Prelude, Zydeco Affair added blinkers.

"I think they make him focus much better," said Robideaux.

Zydeco Affair built his reputation on turf by winning the $100,000 El Joven and $75,000 Manila as a 2-year-old, but Robideaux feels he is equally effective on dirt.

Crowned King, the favorite in the Prelude, who was compromised by a slow pace, came back well and will be pointed for the Super Derby, said his co-owner and trainer Billy McKeever Jr.

* Jockey Jamie Theriot hit career win 1,000 on Saturday when he won the ninth race with Quantis for major patron Cole Norman. Theriot, 24, launched his career at Evangeline Downs in 1997.

* Tincan Too ($10.80), only two races removed from her maiden win, unleashed a powerful rally from well back to score a 3 1/4-length victory over four other 3-year-old fillies in Monday's $50,000 Lyrique Handicap at Louisiana Downs.

* Already a stakes winner against her own gender, 2-year-old filly Cabildo Bag ($3.60) remained unbeaten in three starts with a 1 1/2-length victory over 10 male opponents in Monday's $50,000 Lafayette Stakes, the closing day feature at Evangeline Downs.

- additional reporting by Jeff Taylor