11/25/2010 2:42PM

Southern Equine Stable playing smaller role at Fair Grounds

Barbara D. Livington
Eric Guillot will be spending most of his winter in Southern California.

NEW ORLEANS – The Southern Equine Stable of owner Michael Moreno, the second-leading owner last season at Fair Grounds, will have a diminished presence here during the 2010-2011 meet.

Eric Guillot, who trains most of the Southern Equine stock and manages the far-flung operation, has returned to Southern California this year after wintering at Fair Grounds last year. Guillot had a large string in New Orleans during 2009-2010, when Southern Equine compiled an excellent record of 29-8-13 from 87 starters, but there are just nine Southern Equine horses here this winter, eight with trainer Eric Heitzmann and one in the barn of trainer Wally Dollase.

Guillot said he will have 20 horses based at Santa Anita and cited that track’s decision to replace a synthetic track with dirt as a prime reason for his return. Among the horses Guillot will ship to Santa Anita is Grade 1 winner Champagne d’Oro, who will race in the opening-day La Brea Stakes before stretching out to routes in 2011, Guillot said.

Southern Equine has long been heavily involved with Louisiana-bred racing, but Guillot said Moreno has dispersed much of his lower-level Louisiana-bred stock that remained in the state year-round.

Thunder Perfect hoping for rain

Saturday’s 11-race card here is a soft one, with an entry-level allowance race and a maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-olds the highest-class fare on the card.

The allowance feature, race 9, might be easier to figure if rain forces a move to dirt: Main-track-only entrant Thunder Perfect finished third behind Fly Down and First Dude last winter at Gulfstream Park and would be formidable if he gets to run. On turf, things are blurrier.

Musicstreet Menace has raced for a claiming tag more often than under allowance conditions, but that hardly disqualifies him from contender status in this spot. Musicstreet Menace finished fourth of 11 in a pretty solid Hawthorne allowance race Oct. 6, his most recent start; at least as important is the fact he won over the Fair Grounds turf course in January.

◗ Jockey Rosie Napravnik, wintering in New Orleans for the first time in her career, wasted little time scoring her second career win Thursday at Fair Grounds. Napravnik niftily guided Bucks’s Revenge to the rail for the stretch run in race 2 to edge favored Hawk Walker.