09/09/2005 12:00AM

Royal Saint good fit for Super Derby


Royal Saint, who has established himself as one of the top 3-year-olds at Louisiana Downs with four wins this meet, is now being pointed for the Grade 2, $750,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 1. He earned a fees-paid berth into the race last Monday when he won the local prep, the $50,000 Prelude.

The 1 1/16-mile race was the fourth straight victory for Royal Saint, an easy-going colt who overtook pacesetter Key Issues for a three-quarter length win.

"He made me nervous, but that's him," said Cole Norman, who trains Royal Saint. "He does what he has to do, and that's it. It was a slow, slow pace and he just sat back there, and then he went up and passed that horse and held him off."

Norman has won the Prelude four times but has never won the Super Derby. He believes Royal Saint could change that.

"I think out of all four, he is the best route horse," said Norman. "He's the one who can go the distance. It's no problem for him. The further the better. This horse is a tall, long-legged, big, strapping horse, and he's got a huge stride on him."

Those are attributes that will serve Royal Saint well with the Super Derby distance being increased from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles for this year's running. Royal Saint races for Gary and Mary West.

Key Issues was determined through the stretch run of the Prelude. He had won three straight starts going into the race, including a 3 1/4-length romp in the $60,000 Minnesota Derby at Canterbury Park.

"He's a real nice horse," said Gilbert Ciavaglia, who trains Key Issues. "He probably got beat because I needed a prep race for him and nothing worked for us. He hadn't run since July 30. He trained really good. I just didn't get that final little bit of edge on him."

Key Issues would seem set to move forward in his next start, which could come in one of three spots. Ciavaglia and owner Camelia Casby are not ruling out the Super Derby, but are looking harder at the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park on Oct. 1; the $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Oct. 21; or the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial at one mile on turf on the Super Derby undercard.

"He's out of a real good mare that's thrown some nice turf stakes horses," said Ciavaglia.

Silver Haze was third in the Prelude, rallying from last, and he could make his next start in the Super Derby.

"I thought he ran an awfully good race considering there was no speed on the front end," said Steve Wren, who trains Silver Haze. "He came running, and that's what I wanted to see. I would like to run in the Super Derby. The main thing is how he trains up to it, and who's coming. It has been our goal all along."

Silver Haze is a two-time stakes winner this meet at Louisiana Downs.

Jackpot a goal for Premier Dance

Premier Dance, who has won stakes in his last three starts, will move to two turns for his next start, said his trainer, Cody Autrey. Premier Dance returned to training Friday following his 2 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Lafayette for 2-year-olds at Evangeline Downs last Monday, jogging a mile at Louisiana Downs.

Autrey said Premier Dance is being pointed for the $75,000 MEC Mile at Remington Park on Oct. 21. If he proves effective at two turns, Autrey said the long-term goal for Premier Dance is the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 2.

"If his pedigree lets him go a mile, then we would probably go to the Delta Jackpot," said Autrey.

Premier Dance is a son of speed sire Premiership. He rates kindly, however, and sat off the pace early in the Lafayette. His other stakes wins have been in the $70,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park in July, and the $50,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs in August.

Premier Dance was a private purchase by Charles Fletcher in June.

* The $1 million Breeders' Festival, a program of 13 stakes for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses bred in Louisiana, will be run next Saturday. Last month, total purses for the stakes were increased from $880,000 to $1,075,000 because of the performance of slots at Louisiana Downs.

* Westfest, who rallied for a 4 1/4-length win in his career debut last Monday, could make his next start in the $125,000 Harrah's Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles on turf on the Super Derby undercard, said his trainer, Norman.

* Norman also said Love the Beach, runner-up to the Belmont-bound Mykindasaint in the $50,000 Princess, is being pointed for the $45,000 Lady Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 24.