07/26/2007 11:00PM

Red-hot Mouton barn enjoying career year

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Trainer Pat Mouton has won six stakes halfway into the meet at Louisiana Downs, success that has helped push his stable earnings to a career-best $2,220,087 already this year with five more months to go. Further enhancing Mouton's numbers is his 3-for-4 record with stakes starters at the meet at Evangeline Downs.

"It's been fun," he said.

Mouton's latest assault on the Louisiana Downs stakes program came July 21, when he sent out Ida Marie to win the $100,000 Victoria and Pantara Phantom to capture the $100,000 Stardust. He said both runners might run next at Fair Grounds, with the promising Pantara Phantom a candidate to wait on the Louisiana Futurity and the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.

"I might chill with him, I'm not sure yet," said Mouton. "He's a neat horse. He's a half-brother to Hot Tamale by Stormy Atlantic, so he's got a right to be a racehorse."

Pantara Phantom is a big colt whose older sister Hot Tamale won the Fantasia for Mouton. For his front-running win in the Stardust, Pantara Phantom earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 76. In his only other start, he won his debut from off the pace here July 5.

Pantara Phantom and Ida Marie, who will return at Fair Grounds, were two of three stakes winners on July 21 for Mouton. He also sent out He's Royal Dee to win the $50,000 Oak Hall at Evangeline Downs.

Mouton also had stakes doubles on June 23, with Venomous and Cajun Conquest at Louisiana Downs, and on Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline on June 30, with Leesa Lee and Cort's P.B.

Mouton said Venomous is on deck for the $50,000 Taliaferro Memorial at Remington Park on Sept. 9, while Cajun Conquest will start next in the $100,000 Prelude here on Aug. 18. As for Cort's P.B., he is getting time off and will run next at Fair Grounds.

Ruby's Grand Slam to Calder?

Ruby's Grand Slam, who won the $125,000 Hallowed Dreams Breeders' Cup for Mouton here July 14, will start next in one of two turf sprints - the $250,000 Distaff Turf Championship at Calder on Aug. 11, or the $50,000 Adena Springs Matchmaker at Remington on Aug.o4.

Ruby's Grand Slam wired a strong field in the Hallowed Dreams.

"It was a good race," said Mouton. "She loves the sloppy racetrack. It moves her up big time. I try to follow the weather forecast with her, but it doesn't always work out that way.

"She'll either go to Remington or Calder and run five-eighths on the turf. She can do that, too. If she gets rain, so be it. She just moves up a notch. If not, she runs good on turf."

Mouton entered Friday's races tied in wins atop the trainer standings with Jorge Lara. Mouton leads all Louisiana Downs trainers in stable earnings with $788,545.

Sam David Sr. dies at 81

Sam David Sr., a longtime trainer and the father of Louisiana Downs staple Sam David Jr., died Thursday night of heart failure at a hospital in Shreveport, La. He was 81. David was born in Georgia, but grew up in Hollywood, Fla.

David was an All-American football player at the University of Miami, during which time he was exposed to racing for the first time as an usher at Gulfstream Park. He began training horses in 1952. He later was instrumental in getting summer race dates in Florida, which were run at Calder.

"He wanted to stay home instead of having to travel every summer, and got involved with Steve Calder to get the summertime dates through the legislature," said David Jr. "Then he raced there for a long time at Calder.

"When I started, he turned his horses over to me. When I look back at it, that was quite a sacrifice for him to give up his horses so I could get a start."

David is survived by his wife, Margaret, another son, Robert David, and a daughter, Beth David.

Services are set for Tuesday at Hillcrest Funeral Home in Haughton, La. The viewing is from noon to 2 p.m., with services to follow.

* Chip Hunter, who was beaten just two lengths by Desert Wheat when fifth in the $100,000 Shiskabob here July 21, will start as a strong favorite in the featured eighth race on Sunday. The $20,000 optional claimer will be run at a mile and a sixteenth on turf. Carlos Gonzalez has the mount for trainer Jim Hodges.