02/03/2011 3:39PM

Star Guitar seeks Premier Night Championship three-peat

Email
Lynn Roberts
Star Guitar will be seeking his third straight Premier Night Championship victory on Saturday at Delta Downs.

Star Guitar bounced back into form winning the Dec. 11 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds, a race after a surprising fourth-place finish at his typical odds-on favoritism. Now, the king of the Louisiana-breds returns to the scene of that November loss, Delta Downs, for the $200,000 Premier Night Championship.

Star Guitar is one of seven horses entered in the Championship, a race he has easily won the last two years, and the Championship is one of six stakes races on a showcase for Louisiana-breds. Add in four more starter-allowance stakes, and total stakes purses on the night total $950,000.

That’s a little less coin than millionaire Star Guitar, 6, has banked in a 21-start career for the Brittlyn Stables and trainer Al Stall. Star Guitar has won 15 times and proven nearly unbeatable in statebred-restricted competition. Facing Louisiana-breds, Star Guitar had won 12 times in 13 tries before the Nov. 5 Gold Cup at Delta, but he finished a flat fourth with no apparent excuse that night. Stall still doesn’t know what went wrong in that race, but Star Guitar wasted little time getting back to this old ways, winning the Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds by four lengths.

“I’m not worried about anything,” Stall said. “His works have been great. Every single gallop has been great.”

Snug won the Nov. 5 Gold Cup at Delta and was no match for Star Guitar while second last out at Fair Grounds. My Star Runner, 1 for 1 over the Delta surface, figures to set the pace in the Championship, if he starts, but the horse was cross-entered in the $100,000 Premier Night Sprint and could opt for that easier spot.

Distaff: Superior Storm may be vulnerable

While Star Guitar hinted last month that his November loss was a one-race aberration, Superior Storm, the millionaire mare from the same crop as Star Guitar, has shown more pervasive signs of decline. Superior Storm managed to win the Magnolia Stakes by a neck on the Nov. 5 card at Delta, but she was a well-beaten second last out in the Champions Day Ladies and may be vulnerable again Saturday night in the $150,000 Premier Night Distaff.

Superior Storm is one of 10 in the main body of the one-mile Distaff, with an 11th entrant, Zarb’s Ballerina, stuck on the also-eligible list. Among Superior Storm’s challengers are Ladyzarbridge, the filly who beat her on Champions Day at Fair Grounds; Harlie’s Dream, a fast-closing second to Superior Storm in the Magnolia; and Little Polka Dot, whose best race among three recent starts was her lone start at Delta.

Prince: Loranger Native familiar with track

When odds-on Fair Grounds shipper Flash Mash flopped in a Delta stakes race last month, trainer Mike Stidham could find no reason for the filly’s poor performance other than the Delta racing surface itself. So, Stidham has taken measures to avoid a recurrence of that situation. On Jan. 28, he shipped the promising 3-year-old Loranger Native from Fair Grounds to Delta for a five-furlong work on Jan. 29. The trial run complete, Loranger Native returned to New Orleans later the same day but is back and looking like a significant factor in the $100,000 Premier Night Prince.

Loranger Native makes his first start for Stidham and first since being privately purchased by Peter Redekop. At Louisiana Downs late last summer, Loranger Native debuted with a 3 1/4-length win over Su Casa G Casa – a starter in the Prince and one of the best members of his Louisiana-bred crop – and followed up that win with a blowout victory in a $100,000 Louisiana Stallion stakes. He will be asked to race seven furlongs around two turns coming back from a layoff of more than four months, but Loranger Native has been working steadily and looks ready.

Su Casa G Casa exits a second-place finish against open stakes horses in the $250,000 Jean Laffitte on Jan. 14 at Delta, while unbeaten Populist Politics won a division of the Louisiana Futurity last out at Fair Grounds.

◗ Reyina benefited from a track bias winning the Champions Day Lassie in December at Fair Grounds, but familiar foes Tensas Punch, Sweet Ruston, and Cat’s Production might have an edge going two turns in the seven-furlong, $100,000 Premier Night Starlet.

◗ Delta-loving John Charles will attempt to win the $100,000 Premier Night Sprint for the third year in a row and might offer square odds, despite his past success in the race.

◗ The $100,000 Matron could be headed for a pace meltdown, with a bevy of front-runners entered in the five-furlong race. Cajun Conference might be the one to take advantage.