01/12/2008 12:00AM

Silver Lord up to challenge in Louisiana Cap


For lack of a better spot, Steve Asmussen decided to start Silver Lord in the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds on Saturday, though the horse had raced only three times, with a last-out entry-level allowance victory his greatest achievement.

Good call.

Silver Lord and jockey Corey Lanerie pressed a fast pace, took over the lead at the quarter pole, and scored a surprisingly easy two-length upset in the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap, the 5-year-old horse's stakes debut.

"There wasn't a two-other-than [allowance] in the condition book, he'd trained good, so why not?" Asmussen said of his decision to start Silver Lord in the Louisiana Cap.

Silver Lord, an Unbridled's Song horse owned by Bowman Couch Racing, paid $30.40 to win, and led a parade of longshots. Prom Shoes, a 13-1 shot, finished second, edging out 22-1 Real Dandy, another Asmussen-trained entry. The $2 trifecta paid $6,561.40.

Silver Lord made his first start for Asmussen in a Dec. 24 entry-level allowance race, winning by 1 1/4 lengths, but Asmussen knew him from the El Primero training center, which his family runs near Laredo, Tex.

"My father had that horse at El Primero, and he said that horse is a runner," Asmussen said. "Corey has ridden him the last two times, and he said the horse is as good as anything he can remember being on."

Port Clyde set a swift pace in the 1o1/16-mile Louisiana, going the opening quarter-mile in 23.59 seconds and the first half-mile in 46.60, with Silver Lord in hot pursuit just to the outside. The pace was especially fast by Fair Grounds standards, but none of the closers could take advantage. Favored Crossword wound up fifth; the close second choice Steve's Double was a well-beaten fourth.

Silver Lord was timed in 1:43.61.

Gaudin: Euroears stays perfect

Euroears made his stakes debut in the $100,000 Gaudin Memorial Stakes, and came out of the race with a 4-for-4 record, wearing down a brave Stormin Baghdad to win by a half-length.

Euroears needed most of the stretch to get past Stormin Baghdad, who set out for the early lead from post 1 under jockey Miguel Mena. Ramsey Zimmerman kept Euroears glued to Stormin Baghdad's flank through a fast pace, 21.43 seconds for the opening quarter and 44.40 to the half. The pair turned into the stretch together, and with no closer coming onto the scene, raced in tandem to the wire. Semaphore Man finished third, favored Gunfight last.

Euroears was timed in 1:09.43 for six furlongs, and paid $9.80 to win.

Euroears, a 4-year-old Langfuhr colt owned by James and Marilyn Selzer, won his debut last July at Lone Star and an allowance race in August at Remington, taking both races by wide margins. But he missed several months after the second win when a shin problem recurred. Euroears won a second-level allowance over the Fair Grounds grass course on Dec. 2, and trainer Bret Calhoun said he might have run him in a third-level allowance race rather than the Gaudin if one had filled.

"We had a lot of confidence, but he's faced maidens and conditional allowance horses," Calhoun said. "We thought he was extremely talented from the beginning, but this was a big step up."

Col. Bradley: Graham picks right one

When Got the Last Laugh scratched out of the Grade 3, $100,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap, jockey James Graham switched onto French Beret, and rode him to a 1 3/4-length victory.

With little pace over a turf course listed as good, Graham tucked French Beret behind the leaders, sent him to the front on the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race, and they held off the rest of the field, who finished tightly bunched.

Trained by Mark Frostad and owned by Sam-Son Farms, French Beret finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.83 and paid $24.60 to win.

Major Rhythm, who went off at 29-1, finished second over favorite Sterwins. The exacta paid $642.40, and the trifecta paid $1,927.20.

Leggio: Quick return no problem

Coming back to the races only 15 days after her last race, Dancerofthe-realm took control in midstretch and held on to win the $100,000 Leggio Memorial Stakes by a half-length.

Coming home second was Flying Circle, who had traffic problems in the stretch and was gaining ground late. It was another half-length back to Kindling in third.

Miguel Mena rode Danceroftherealm, who rallied from last along the rail in the 5 1/2-furlong turf race. She covered the distance in 58.42 seconds and paid $20 to win.

Trained by Malcolm Pierce, Danceroftherealm entered the race off a victory in a second-level allowance.

"I ran her back a little quicker than usual, but she won her last race so easily I thought she deserved a chance," said Pierce. "This filly ran huge today."

- additional reporting by Abram Himelstein