09/14/2010 3:22PM

Southwest's female turf stars may meet at Keeneland

Lou Hodges Jr.
Category Seven has won five straight races, including the $50,000 Shiskabob over males at Louisiana Downs in her last start.

The Southwest region could contribute two starters on significant win streaks to next month’s Grade 1, $400,000 First Lady at Keeneland. Wasted Tears, a winner of her last seven starts, is training toward the Oct. 9 race, while Category Seven, who picked up her fifth straight win last month, is being seriously considered for a start in the First Lady.

If both go, it would be a first match-up between Wasted Tears, who is based in Texas, and Category Seven, who has been racing at Louisiana Downs. But the first order of business for Category Seven will be a start in the $50,000 River Cites on the Super Derby undercard Sept. 25 at Louisiana Downs, trainer Kenny Hargrave said. Following that race, she will be considered for the First Lady. Her other option, Hargrave said, is the $100,000 River Memories at Woodbine, which is the home base of her owner, James Perron. That race is Oct. 30.

Wasted Tears and Category Seven appeared on course to meet back in May in the region’s top race for their division, the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park.

“We decided to bypass it,” Hargrave said. “She didn’t fire the last time she ran in Dallas.”

Wasted Tears ended up winning this year’s Ouija Board, and last month, she won the Grade 2 John C. Mabee at Del Mar. She is based at Retama Park.

Category Seven is based at Louisiana Downs. She has won three straight stakes between her home track and Evangeline Downs since July, her most recent win coming in the $50,000 Shiskabob over males at Louisiana Downs. Category Seven hit traffic in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile turf race Aug. 28, changed course late, and re-rallied for a three-quarter length win.

“She’s pretty agile on the grass,” Hargrave said. “She came out of that race sitting ready for the River Cities.”

Hargrave said Category Seven is scheduled to breeze a half-mile Sunday at Louisiana Downs. If she does head to Keeneland next month, he said she would ship in a week ahead of the First Lady.

Category Seven is one of six horses Hargrave has at Louisiana Downs, where he is winning with 26 percent of his starters this meet. A former jockey based in Canada, he began training in the early 1980s. Hargrave, 58, kept at stable at Louisiana Downs for a while before moving to New York and racing there for 19 years. He returned to Louisiana Downs in 2004.

50-cent trifectas, pick fours offered

Louisiana Downs will expand its wagering format beginning with Thursday’s card, said Trent McIntosh, the track’s director of racing operations. He said Louisiana Downs will offer 50-cent trifectas and 50-cent pick fours on all eligible races through the close of the meet Sept. 26.

“I think this is something our fans are excited about,” McIntosh said. “Similar to penny slots, the 50-cent trifecta and pick-four wagers offer them an excellent opportunity to get more bang for their buck.”

McIntosh said Louisiana Downs will be offering 10 races a day through Sept. 26.

My Star Runner impresses in sprint

Apart’s win in the $100,000 Prelude last month at Louisiana Downs was not the only impressive performance by a 3-year-old on the card. My Star Runner won his second straight race in a first-level allowance sprint when he covered six furlongs in a sharp 1:10.60. For the effort, My Star Runner earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

“He ran a big race,” said Jim Hodges, who trains My Star Runner.

Hodges said My Star Runner is now a long-term candidate for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds on Dec. 11. The horse is a full brother to Star Production, a past winner of the Prelude as well as the Louisiana Breeders’ Derby.

New equine piroplasmosis policy

The Louisiana Racing Commission has passed an emergency rule requiring a negative equine piroplasmosis test for all horses entering the stable areas of tracks in the state. Officials said the rule will go into effect Sept. 26.

Equine piroplasmosis is a tick-borne blood disease that is sometimes transmitted through unsanitary needles. The new rule requires a negative test that is taken within 12 months of entry to the stable area.