11/13/2009 12:00AM

Sok Sok back at his favorite track


NEW ORLEANS - Sok Sok, who is undefeated at the Fair Grounds, is training to defend his Thanksgiving Day Handicap title on Nov 26.

Sok Sok posted three dominating stakes victories at the last Fair Grounds meet last winter and spring, and seemed poised for a successful year when he won the Duncan F. Kenner here in March. However, after leaving Fair Grounds, Sok Sok went 0 for 5, with only one in-the-money finish. His last effort was a fourth-place finish in Premier Handicap at Zia Park on Sept. 13.

"I can't explain it," said Darren Fleming, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "It was a rough time, and then he got some time off."

Since his break, Sok Sok has worked three times over the Fair Grounds surface. In his last work, he covered five furlongs in 1:04.40.

Fleming is optimistic about Sok Sok's chances at the Fair Grounds meet.

"He's been working well," Fleming said. "He's back home where he loves to be."

Shezacrazygirl joins Stall's barn

Al Stall added strength to strength when Shezacrazygirl, winner of last week's $250,000 Louisiana Jewel, joined his barn. She will reside just down the row from Star Guitar, a Louisiana-bred champion.

Shezacrazygirl, a 2-year-old filly, came from seventh place to win the Louisiana Jewel at Delta Downs by two lengths. The win took her record to a perfect 2 for 2.

She arrived Wednesday from trainer Gregory Sacco's barn at Delta and will be pointed to the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie on Dec. 12.

Star Guitar has won 10 of his 11 starts against Louisiana-breds.

In his last race, the $100,000 Gold Cup on Oct. 16 at Delta Downs, Star Guitar was his usual consistent self, settling in second for most of the race before taking over in the stretch. He won by two lengths.

Stall stepped Star Guitar up into open stakes twice this year. Star Guitar finished third in the Grade 3 Alysheba and seventh in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. While Stall did not rule out a return to open stakes, he has pointed Star Guitar to the Dec. 12 Champions Day Classic.

Star Guitar had been cooling his heels since the Gold Cup, but he went back to work this week. His work last Sunday - four furlongs in 48.60 seconds - indicates that he is still in form. He was scheduled to work again Sunday.

Much Obliged gets her chance

After holding Much Obliged in reserve at Woodbine for most of the fall, trainer Malcolm Pierce let her loose in the opening-day feature, the Blushing K.D. Handicap. The 4-year-old filly won by a half-length.

"She came down here and did what she had to do to win," Pierce said. "She's a fresh horse and it's her turn."

The victory took her bankroll past $360,000. Pierce said that Much Obliged will be pointed to the series of turf-route stakes for fillies and mares at the meet. Her next goal is the 1 1/16-mile Furl Sail Handicap on Jan. 2.

Much Obliged had to wait her turn, while her stablemate Points of Grace campaigned at Woodbine in the fall. Points of Grace won the River Memorial at Woodbine on Oct. 31, and Pierce worked to keep the two from meeting.

Points of Grace has been given time back at the farm, and Pierce plans to bring her back into training in January at Fair Grounds.

"Points of Grace is off getting a well-deserved break," he said. "We're in no rush to bring her back.