Updated on 09/16/2011 7:54AM

Respiratory ailment keeps Mongoose home


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Jim Bond said Wednesday that Donn Handicap winner Mongoose will not run in Sunday's New Orleans Handicap.

Earlier this week, Bond, who is based at Payson Park in Florida, said he was leaning toward putting Mongoose on a plane bound for New Orleans to run in the Handicap, but Bond said a small amount of mucus was detected in Mongoose's upper respiratory system after a work on Monday and that the trip was off.

Bond worried that shipping Mongoose while he possibly was harboring an infection could have led to a more serious illness. "It's a long, long year," Bond said. "If you take care of the horse, they usually take care of you."

Bond said Mongoose remains on target for the March 30 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Mongoose, who won the Grade 1 Donn in his last race, probably would have been the favorite in the New Orleans Handicap, a Grade 2 race with a $500,000 purse.

The flight Mongoose would have taken carried two other New Orleans Handicap horses, Graeme Hall and Keats. Both horses, each a Grade 2 winner, ran in the Donn, with Graeme Hall finishing eighth and Keats stopping badly to be 14th after setting a fast early pace.

Graeme Hall and fellow Florida shipper Kiss a Native will be the starting highweights at 116 pounds. Kiss a Native is shipping by van to Fair Grounds from trainer Bill White's base at Calder Race Course.

A field of eight now seems likely for the race, with no horses expected to ship in from California. The local contingent is headed by Whirlaway Handicap winner Valhol, and also includes Parade Leader, San Pedro, Fight for Ally, and Oak Hall.

Dollar Bill still not ready

Dollar Bill also will miss the New Orleans Handicap, trainer Dallas Stewart said Wednesday.

"He's still a work or two away," Stewart said. "He's not ready."

Stewart has been training away on Dollar Bill since mid-December, and the 4-year-old colt has worked 10 times at Fair Grounds. Monday, he put in a strong six-furlong work that was timed in 1:13, and Stewart said he caught Dollar Bill galloping out a mile in just over 1:40.

Dollar Bill, who won the Risen Star on this track last meet, hasn't raced since last summer, when he finished third in the Travers Stakes. He subsequently had surgery to remove a bone chip and has been given time to recover from the injury.

"You've got to get enough under him because he's going to go a route of ground when he comes back," Stewart said. "You couldn't run him in a sprint race because he'd get hammered, even in allowance company."

Stewart said he would try to find Dollar Bill a race during the last month of the Fair Grounds meet, but could also start the colt at Keeneland. Dollar Bill's first major objective of the season is the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in June.

Histoire Sainte to miss Bayou

Histoire Sainte is out of Saturday's $150,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race she won two meets ago.

Histoire Sainte was recently injured when she was struck by a loose horse in a morning training accident. Trainer Steve Asmussen had been hopeful that she would recover in time to start in the Bayou BC, but said Wednesday that she could not make the race, for which she was assigned high weight of 116 pounds.

"She's still body sore," Asmussen said. "She's just not herself right now. Usually she's a gazelle out there, but she's not that right now."

Histoire Sainte has won three races since being imported from Europe two years ago, and all have come over the Fair Grounds turf.

"It's absolutely tragic that I can run her only once at a meet where she's at her best," Asmussen said.

The Bayou BC might end up as a dirt race if the local weather forecast is accurate. After a cold front moves through later this week, storms are forecast for Friday and Saturday. That could narrow a field projected to comprise seven or eight starters. Sitka, a Florida-based horse, shipped here Wednesday for the race. The top local contenders are Lady of Peace and Tabianka.

New rider for French Assault

Trainer Keith Desormeaux said that French Assault, the fourth-place finisher in the Risen Star Stakes, will have a new jockey in the Louisiana Derby, with Robby Albarado taking over for E. J. Perrodin.

"Albarado's a leading rider and a good rider," Desormeaux said.

French Assault finished second to Repent last fall in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile and finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The Risen Star, in which he raced close to a fast pace, was his first start this year.

Rosthern in good spot

The sharp filly Rosthern will skip the Bayou Breeders' Cup in favor of Fair Grounds's featured ninth race Friday, a third-level turf allowance at about 1 1/16 miles. Rosthern is part of a field of eight, with one horse, Careless Ocean, on the also-eligible list.

Rosthern, who is trained by Josie Carroll and owned by James and Alice Sapara, has run strong races here in her last three starts, winning a first-level allowance on grass and a second-level allowance when a turf race was rained onto dirt, and finishing second to Tabianka in her most recent start. Tabianka just missed in the Sixty Sails Handicap and will be among the favorites in the Bayou BC.

Rosthern plies her trade on the lead, and there may be no one to force her into fast fractions in the early going. In any case, speed has played fairly well on turf since Fair Grounds moved the inner rail to a position 25 feet from the inner path on the course.