09/16/2009 11:00PM

Rich Pearl must give weight in Happy Ticket


BOSSIER CITY, La. - As warm-up acts go, Saturday's $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes should prove to be a good one. A competitive field of nine 2-year-old fillies will go 1 1/16 miles on the grass in the race immediately preceding the afternoon's featured $750,000 Super Derby.

Rich Pearl stamped herself as the one to beat in the Happy Ticket by winning the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Stakes here last month. The Monashee Mountain filly made an early move in the one-mile Wilhite, ranging up to the front before the half-mile point with a burst of speed under Sidney LeJeune. Able to get a bit of a breather through the final turn, Rich Pearl had enough in the tank late to hold off a couple of challengers, including eventual third-place finisher Lemondropsmypop, whom she will meet again on Saturday. The win was the second in three starts for Rich Pearl, who won her maiden over the Lone Star turf in early July.

As the only open stakes winner in the field, Rich Pearl will carry 122 pounds and spot her rivals from four to six pounds. Trainer Jerry Todd has given a return call to Lejeune, who will guide Rich Pearl from the outside post.

Seasoned made quite a splash by winning at first asking for trainer Al Stall Jr. last month and will be looking for a repeat of her late-running success in her first stakes try. A handsome daughter of Pulpit who was bred and is owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Seasoned sports the same connections as Super Derby starter Blame. Curt Bourque will once again be in the saddle.

Temperence Hill starts pick four

Some of the region's best sprinters will do battle in the $50,000 Temperence Hill Stakes. The six-furlong dash will be the ninth event on the program and will be the first race in the $100,000-guaranteed all-stakes pick four that also includes the Happy Ticket and Super Derby before concluding with the $75,000 River Cities.

Ide Like a Double, winner of the Oak Hall Stakes at seven furlongs earlier this summer, could be a slight favorite over the multiple stakes winner Gold Coyote. Both continue to train forwardly and will share highweight honors in the Temperence Hill with Ain't He a Pistol at 124 pounds.

River Cities wide open

The $75,000 River Cities, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew an evenly matched field of 11. Category Seven and Ruling Class, first and second in the Matron Stakes at Evangeline in late July, will renew their rivalry.

Mogumbo Cat puts streak on line

The afternoon's first stakes will be the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Mogumbo Cat, winner of four consecutive races, including the local Shiskabob Stakes in August, rates at the one to beat under visiting rider Garrett Gomez.