12/14/2010 4:26PM

Stall happy to keep Star Guitar in barn for 2011

Rick Samuels/Hodges Photography
Owner Evelyn Benoit gives Star Guitar a congratulatory kiss after winning the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds.

After the Al Stall-trained Blame won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he quickly was whisked off to Claiborne Farm for post-racing life as a stallion. But the future looks a little different for the winner of Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day Classic, Star Guitar.

“He’ll run in 2011,” Stall said Tuesday morning. “And hopefully in 2012 and 2013, too.”

Star Guitar is a 5-year-old horse by Quiet American and, as the most recognizable Louisiana-bred of the last several years, he could become some sort of Louisiana stallion, but owner Evelyn Benoit of the Brittlyn Stable prefers to see Star Guitar on the track rather than at the farm for the time being.

“I’m sure he’d get some mares at stud, but he’s very sound, and there are money and titles Evelyn is interested in,” Stall said.

With that in mind, Star Guitar will swing right back into action early next year, with Stall pointing to the $200,000 Premier Night Championship on Feb. 5 at Delta Downs. It was at Delta that Star Guitar suffered just his second defeat in 15 races restricted to Louisiana-breds, finishing fourth in the $100,000 Gold Cup there Nov. 5, but he had won his two previous races over the bullring-style racetrack there.

“Who knows what happened at Delta, but it doesn’t matter now,” Stall said.

Star Guitar won the Classic on Saturday by four lengths, a lesser margin than his 7 3/4-length score in 2009, but a performance that earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 that was four points higher than the 2009 Classic number. Earnings from the win made Star Guitar a millionaire, his bankroll currently standing at $1,065,958.

Snakebite Kit eyes open company

Like Star Guitar, Champions Day Sprint winner Flashy Wise Cat will stick to his own kind – Louisiana-breds -- for now, but Champions Day Turf winner Snakebite Kit will try to make the leap into open stakes competition in his next start, trainer Eddie Johnston said.

Snakebite Kit, a 4-year-old Sky Classic gelding bred and owned by Steve Hartman, ran his Fair Grounds turf record to 4 for 4 with a front-running, 1 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Turf on Saturday. Snakebite Kit has won five of his seven career turf starts while never finishing worse than third but appears to be at his best in New Orleans. He was making just his second start since early July on Saturday.

“I thought he was phenomenal,” said Johnston, “and I think he’s peaking.”

Johnston said that Hartman is keen to match Snakebite Kit against open stakes runners this winter. The time to do so probably will come Jan. 22 in the Grade 3, $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap.

“I don’t think it’s about the $100,000, but it’s a graded race, and we want to see if his performance is up to that,” Johnston said.

Flashy Wise Cat definitely looked up to facing open stakes sprinters this winter while scoring a flashy 3 1/4-length win Saturday, but Troy Young, who trains Flashy Wise Cat for his father, Lee Young, said Flashy Wise Cat was a probable starter in the $60,000 John E. Jackson Memorial Stakes for Louisiana-breds on Jan. 15. That race is at 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt, and Flashy Wise Cat has gone 3 for 3 in one-turn Fair Grounds main-track races, winning those starts by a combined 11 lengths. Saturday’s race was his first start since July 17, and Flashy Wise Cat had just one horse beaten with about three furlongs left in the six-furlong sprint, but a huge move carried him to a comfortable victory, and Young said the 5-year-old horse had come out of the race in good shape.

“He’s a big strong horse,” Young said. “His regular groom had Sunday off, and the other groom that was taking care of him was trying to brush him tied to the wall. He couldn’t do it. We had to get a hotwalker to get a shank on him just to brush him.”

Central City tops Bonapaw

Saturday’s program includes five $60,000 stakes races, but only one of them, the Bonapaw for older male turf sprinters, fared well at the entry box Monday. The Bonapaw drew a strong 11-horse field headed by Central City, the second-place finisher in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The field also includes BC Turf Sprint sixth-place finisher Due Date, and Backtalk, a Grade 2 winner in 2009.

Also on the card are the Sugar Bowl and the Letellier for 2-year-old male and female sprinters, respectively; the Esplanade for older females at 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt; and the Tenacious for older male dirt routers.