01/06/2007 1:00AM

Sandburr takes paceless Louisiana BC

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Sandburr stalked a walking pace set by Jonesboro and took over in the stretch Saturday to win the $75,000 Louisiana Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Jockey James Graham sent Sandburr, who normally runs from off the pace, right after Jonesboro and Donnie Meche at the start of the race.

The tandem loafed through a 25.31-second quarter-mile and a half-mile in 49.40 seconds while the 4-5 favorite, Patriot Act, lingered in last until jockey Robby Albarado asked him for run a half-mile from home.

"Going down the backside he was just floating along," said Graham. "The horse was running the way he was comfortable. When we were going around the turn, Donnie Meche's horse was flicking his ears and I knew my horse was comfortable. He finished up like a freight train."

Sandburr ($11) hit the front and held Jonesboro at bay through the stretch run to win by three-quarters of a length, getting the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.10. Patriot Act closed to finish third, another half-length back.

Wining trainer Michael Stidham praised Graham's ride after the race.

"James came over to the barn this morning and watched his last three races," said Stidham. "Most of the time he's sitting back off of fast fractions. The way it turned out, you see him that close and you get worried, then when you look up and see 25 and change, you say that's where he's supposed to be."