07/17/2008 11:00PM

Sligo Joe puts hot new rep on the line

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - Sligo Joe, no worse than second in his three-race career while rapidly ascending the class ladder, will put his rising-star status on the line in Sunday's second-level optional claiming feature.

The Jerry Cart trainee will be making his second start on grass after winning a first-level optional claimer in his turf debut June 27. Prior to that effort, Sligo Joe finished second in an allowance sprint and defeated $10,000 maiden claimers, both races coming on the Louisiana Downs main track.

It is doubtful Sligo Joe, 3, will enter for anything close to that kind of claiming price again, given his progress thus far. He posted a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 87 in his lone defeat, a near miss in that allowance race in early June.

Hardly a well kept secret, Sligo Joe has been sent off at odds of 2.30-1 in each of his three starts, and should once again be a short price on Sunday

Leading rider Don Simington, the only jockey ever to ride Sligo Joe in a race, again has the call.

The primary threat to Sligo Joe appears to be Brutal Attack. The speedy Sam Breaux-trained runner has won 7 of his 13 starts, including his last 2, and 5 of his last 7 dating back to Arlington Park last summer. Francisco Torres will handle the riding chores on Sunday.

Perrodin back in the saddle

E. J. Perrodin, 51, took a major step toward resuming his riding career this week as he galloped a horse for the first time since suffering a shattered pelvis and lacerated liver in a riding accident at Fair Grounds last November.

"He told me he was a little muscle sore, especially in the upper legs afterward," said Louisiana Downs steward and former clerk of scales Terry Magee. "As far as the injuries are concerned, he said he felt fine, and he obviously has been cleared by his doctor."

Perrodin said that he intends to continue to take his recovery one day at a time and expects to ride in races again before the summer is out.

* The move last week to change post time on Friday from 3:10 p.m. to match the rest of the week's 1:25 p.m. first post has paid immediate dividends. Total handle on the nine races was $2,071,968 compared to an average of $1,673,266 for the preceding five Fridays since the meeting began, including the holiday Fourth of July program.