12/03/2016 6:16PM

Rapid Rhythm remains perfect in four Fair Grounds turf starts by taking Battle of New Orleans

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Adrianne G won the 2015 Battle of New Orleans Stakes, but last year’s winner was not quite good enough Saturday to keep favored Rapid Rhythm from the winner’s circle in the $50,000 Battle of New Orleans at Fair Grounds.

Rallying down the center of the track under James Graham, Rapid Rhythm just did nip a game but tiring Adrianne G to win the turf-sprint stakes by a half-length.  The top two clearly were best, with Calypso Run finishing third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. She was followed by Tessalina, Full Tap, Boom Bam Bing, and Manille. Seeking Paradise, Touch of Bling, and Neilinger were scratched. On a firm, fast-playing course Rapid Rhythm went 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.12 to run her local grass record to four wins from four starts.

“She’s just been as honest as you can get,” said Mike Stidham, who trains Rapid Rhythm for owner Robert Evans. “She won at Laurel, ran big at Kentucky Downs, but she obviously really loves this place.”

Stidham’s second starter, Full Tap, broke slowly but rushed up to contest the pace with Adrianne G. A strong tail-wind whipping at their backs, the two went a quarter-mile in a fast 21.44 seconds and a half-mile  in 44.60. Full Tap was the first to fold, but those fractions, even wind-aided, began taking their toll on Adrianne G at the furlong pole. As her strides shortened the dark-bay frame of Rapid Rhythm finally showed up on the scene, charging on the far outside, and she was up just before the wire.

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“I just told James, ‘Don’t get her stopped,’ and he didn’t,” said Stidham. “I was just glad to see her get into the picture at the sixteenth pole and have a shot.”

Rapid Rhythm paid $5.60 as the favorite. The 4-year-old Rapid Rhythm, now a winner seven times in 17 starts, and an even stronger 6 for 9 in turf sprints, is a daughter of Successful Appeal and the Quiet American mare Patriot Miss.