03/27/2010 12:00AM

Quiet Temper prevails in Fair Grounds Oaks


NEW ORLEANS - Quiet Temper exited her extensive winter at Fair Grounds exactly where trainer Dale Romans hoped she would be, on target for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks, by virtue of a hard-fought victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on Friday.

"She's getting better right now," Romans said. "Now I've got five weeks to get her ready. This is a good stepping-stone to the Kentucky Oaks. She could go over as one of the favorites."

Quiet Temper ($7.80), the favorite in a wide-open field of 11, needed every inch of the Fair Grounds stretch to get past a stubborn Champagne d'Oro, who led every step but the last few. Quiet Temper won by a half-length, with Champagne d'Oro a neck in front of Sheer Beauty and Seeking the Title, who finished in a dead heat for third in a race that saw the first five finishers separated by 1 1/2 lengths.

Quiet Temper, owned by Mark Stanley, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.55.

Jody Slew, whose status for the race was in question until midweek, finished seventh while racing evenly throughout.

Quiet Temper gave jockey Robby Albarado his first win in this race.

"I've always been plagued with seconds in the Fair Grounds Oaks," he said.

Albarado gave Quiet Temper a perfect trip. She was fourth down the backstretch, on the rail, while Champagne d'Oro, Visavis, and Ailalea set a contested pace. She was in a perfect striking position heading into the lane, and looked set to inhale Champagne d'Oro, but the leader would not go away.

Quiet Temper ran four times here this meet. She won twice, and finished second to Jody Slew in the Silverbulletday. She has finished worse than second just once in eight starts, that coming here in the Tiffany Lass, which she exited with a lung infection, according to Romans.

In other Friday stakes:

* Tizaqueena ($3.40) retained her title as queen of the local turf by beating her Michael Stidham-trained stablemate, A She's Adorable, in the $100,000 Bayou Handicap for older fillies and mares on turf. Tizaqueena, 5, has won all three of her starts on the Fair Grounds turf course, and is 7 for 13 overall. She was challenged in the final sixteenth, but stuck her neck out and prevailed. Never Retreat was third. Shaun Bridgmohan was aboard Tizaqueena, who covered about 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.29.

* West Ocean ($4.80) finished powerfully down the center of the course and pulled away with authority for a five-length triumph in the $57,600 Bienville Stakes for female turf sprinters. Javier Castellano was aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. Selva finished second, and Seeking Ms. Shelly was third. West Ocean, 4, completed about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.73, a course record, while winning for the fourth time in seven starts.

* Daphne Angela ($7.40) just managed to hold on and beat Lunar Fest by a neck to take the $60,000 Crescent City Oaks at a mile and 40 years for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies. The final time was 1:42.13. Elvis Perrodin rode the winner for trainer Patrick Mouton.