04/16/2009 11:00PM

Roussel revved up for action

Email

STICKNEY, Ill. - The longtime New Orleans horseman Louie Roussel took a four-year break from training his horses, with assistant Lara Van Deren down as Roussel's trainer from 2004 to 2007. Back as trainer in 2008, Roussel, who won two-thirds of the Triple Crown co-owning and training Risen Star, got to the Kentucky Derby, where Recapturetheglory finished a respectable fifth.

Even so, 2008 turned out to be a fairly quiet year for Roussel, who started only 37 runners, winning 9 races. But 2009 should be significantly busier. Already, Roussel has had 45 starters this year, and he has been especially active - and successful - lately here at Hawthorne. Through Thursday's action, the Roussel barn had compiled a record of 4-3-2 from 9 starters.

Among the Hawthorne winners was none other than Recapturetheglory himself, who scored a second-level route allowance win here on April 9. The speed figure came back a paltry 79, compared with the 102 Recapturetheglory earned winning the Illinois Derby about a year ago. But figures cannot tell the entire tale. The pace in that race was extremely slow, and Recapturetheglory was forced to rally five wide on a track that favored inside speed, coming home his final 2 1/2 furlongs in slightly more than 30 seconds.

"It's taken him a couple races to round back into form," Roussel said Thursday afternoon.

Recapturetheglory now has made three starts since returning from what Roussel calls "major knee surgery," and because of that injury, Roussel will consider putting Recapturetheglory on the Arlington turf for his next start.

"That may be an easier way to go than dirt," he said.

Recapturetheglory will also be nominated to the Hanshin Handicap over one mile on Polytrack, but is unlikely to start in that race, said Roussel.

Brothers Nicholas, a stakes or high allowance-level runner acquired privately by Roussel over the winter, missed a recent start here because of a quarter crack, and will be out from two to three months, Roussel said. Still, Roussel and Van Deren will have 20 horses for the Arlington meet, including several 2-year-olds, meaning the barn's busier racing schedule figures to continue through the summer.

Shadowbdancing headed to Prairie

It was not heavily favored sharp ex-maiden-claimer Hurta that shined last weekend in the $52,000 Bonasera Stakes, but Shadowbdancing, the Chicago-based horse who for the longest time could not find a dirt route to run in here. To get such a race, trainer Terrel Gore had to ship to Remington Park for a stakes last December, a trip that did not go well at all, and back at Hawthorne early this meet, Gore was forced to put Shadowbdancing in an allowance sprint just to get a race into the horse. But, finally back in a local two-turn event, Shadowbdancing showed again that he is a solid listed stakes or Grade 3-type two-turn dirt horse, scoring by almost two lengths last Saturday in a fast time that earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He was pretty ready for that start, but he probably does have a better race in him," Gore said Thursday morning.

Shadowbdancing flounders on Polytrack, and will be forced to hit the road again for his upcoming schedule. But Prairie Meadows is only a few hours west, and Shadowbdancing likes it there, having won a pair of Prairie stakes last year. Gore said he will bring back Shadowbdancing in a lesser Iowa stakes next time out, and if all goes well, match him against better horses in the Cornhusker Handicap later this summer.

Chicago regular riders return

Chris Emigh, Eddie Razo, and Israel Ocampo all are back at Hawthorne after wintering at Oaklawn Park with varying degrees of success. Emigh, who finished third in the Oaklawn jockey standings, wasted little time swinging back into action: After riding Saturday in Arkansas, Emigh rode on Thursday's card here.

"Hey, I got four days off," Emigh said.

Jesse Campbell, who spent the winter in New Orleans, has been riding sparingly since returning to action in Chicago. He, Emigh, and Razo figure to pick the pace up fairly dramatically when Arlington opens May 2.

Texas jockey Hamilton relocates

Lindy McDaniel, Razo's agent, said he will also be booking mounts for jockey Quincy Hamilton at Arlington. Hamilton, who rode at Oaklawn over the winter, cut his teeth on the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas circuit - emphasis on Texas - and has never ridden regularly at a venue this far north. Hamilton, McDaniel said, will be riding much of the Arlington stock for trainer Donnie Von Hemel, who will have string in Chicago this summer for the first time in several years.

Best race opens Sunday card

Arrive early Sunday if you want to see the Hawthorne feature: Race 1, a second-level sprint allowance, is the day's only race not for claimers or maidens.

Just five were entered in the six-furlong dirt race, and one of them, Approvedbythemint, is a turf horse. The other four all appear to have a chance, with Moralist deserving special attention. Why? Because Tammy Domenosky trains Moralist, and Domenosky has won with 7 of 13 starters at the meet.