04/28/2005 11:00PM

Screen Idol wins John Franks Memorial Stakes


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Surging strongly to the front turning for home under Luis Quinonez, Screen Idol edged clear in the late going to account for Friday's John Franks Memorial Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Spritely Walker, favored at 9-5 in the opening day feature, encountered traffic trouble into the far turn and also entering the stretch but still managed a strong rally when clear to nip Bebe Garcon for the place position with Donna?s Golddigger an equally close fourth.

Quinonez was content to settle Screen Idol well off the quick fractions of 22.20 and 45.53 set by Rail Rose before advancing on that one in the second turn. Putting a head in front into the straight, Quinonez kept his mount?s mind on business with steady pressure to prevail by a length and a half in a time of 1:35.02 over the firm Franks Turf Course.

"I just let my horse relax away from there and just let him run his race," comment Quinonez after the race. "In the second turn he started to really come to leader and we just went around him pretty easy."

Owned by Foxwood Plantation and trained by Ray Spencer, Screen Idol won for the fifth time in 18 starts and has now won his last two races here after accounting for the Shiskabob Stakes in his final start here last fall. Friday's winner's share of $30,000 increased his career bankroll to just over $250,000.

Opening Day handle for the 11 races was a strong $3,630,459 compared to last year's total of $2,625,618 which was handled on a 12 race card.