12/01/2005 12:00AM

Servis plans to shuttle horses from Oaklawn


It is nothing on the scale of a Smarty Party, but John Servis is coming to Louisiana Downs for the first time.

Servis, who trained Smarty Jones, has never started a horse at Louisiana Downs, but with the Fair Grounds meet moved to Bossier City this season, and Servis just three hours north at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., there will be fairly regular trips south during the coming weeks.

"I've got some horses doing well, ready to run," Servis said.

One of them is Wild World, a 2-year-old who was entered in a maiden race Sunday. But no luck, even for the Derby-winning trainer. Wild World was one of several horses excluded from an oversubscribed race, and Servis's Louisiana Downs debut will have to wait.

Meanwhile, Servis said Rockport Harbor has continued training well as he prepares for his first start since last spring. Plagued last season by physical problems, Rockport Harbor breezed Saturday for the first time since he resumed training, going three furlongs at Oaklawn.

Rockport Harbor has no comeback spot etched in stone. "Not yet," said Servis. "I'm just going to let him tell me once we get farther along. Soundness-wise and all, it's good, knock on wood."

Round Pond, one of the best 3-year-old fillies of 2005, is "a couple weeks" behind Rockport Harbor in her training, Servis said, and may have her first breeze since being laid up next weekend.

Chapa winning with everything

Jockey agent Bobby Kelly had a defibrillator implanted in his chest this week. The way things are going, he might have had it set with jewels.

Kelly is representing Roman Chapa at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs, and Chapa is having quite an amazing run. Through Sunday's races, he had 11 wins from just 26 starters and was on top of the standings, four victories ahead of the relentless James Graham. Moreover, Chapa traveled to Sam Houston for Texas Champions Night on Nov. 19, and won three stakes races there.

"So, that's 14 wins in six days," Kelly pointed out. He also was quick to point out the main reason for the Chapa barrage: Steve Asmussen.

Chapa right now is Asmussen's top choice at Louisiana Downs, and has ridden eight of Asmussen's nine winners at the meet.

"Steve's just hot, to tell you the truth," Kelly said. "You're only as good as the trainer you ride for."

Kelly is busy booking mounts less than two months after suffering a heart attack that almost killed him. He traveled to the New Orleans area early this week to have the defibrillator inserted in his chest - it will start his heart going if there's ever another failure - spent one night in recovery, and was on the road driving back to work Wednesday.

Mr. Sulu tunes up for Turf

Mr. Sulu, one of the best Louisiana-bred grass horses during the last several years, had his major prep for the Champions Day Turf on Dec. 10 when he breezed six furlongs Thursday at Louisiana Downs. Mr. Sulu was timed in 1:13.80, about six lengths better than the next-fastest of five works at the distance.

Trainer Josie Carroll wanted to run Mr. Sulu in an allowance prep race for the Turf on opening weekend, but Mr. Sulu got stuck on the also-eligible list and couldn't draw into the race.

"Absolutely, we would have preferred to have a prep," Carroll said. "But he's in good order, so it's up to him now."

Carroll, a Canadian, split her winter stable between Florida and New Orleans last year, but is trying California for the first time this season. She has 20 stalls on the West Coast, and was busy setting up her stable on Thursday morning.