08/12/2009 11:00PM

Star Guitar tackles open foes on short rest

Lynn Roberts
Star Guitar comes into the Evangeline Mile off a career-best 105 Beyer just two weeks ago.

OPELOUSAS, La. - After solidifying his position as the top Louisiana-bred in the handicap division this summer, Star Guitar will venture into open company for Saturday's $150,000 Evangeline Mile. The meeting's richest event drew a field of eight and will be the evening's ninth race.

Trained by Al Stall Jr., Star Guitar won the $100,000 Pola Benoit Stakes on the July 4 Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline in professional fashion, stalking the early pace before taking over and prevailing by two lengths.

The 4-year-old Star Guitar was scheduled to make his turf debut while once again facing statebreds in the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic on Aug 1 at Louisiana Downs, but heavy rain moved the race to the main track. Under patient handling by Curt Bourque, Star Guitar bided his time early before storming down the lane, winning by more than eight lengths and earning a career-high 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He ran awfully big that day," said Stall on Thursday. "I'm still a little leery about bringing him back this quick, but without sounding greedy, he is doing fine and the money is good. Believe me, if everything was not perfect with him, and it has been, we would not be going."

Stall explained that a large gap in the calendar for Louisiana-breds contributed to the decision to run Star Guitar back so soon.

"There is a hundred grander at Delta Downs on Oct. 15, which will give him 60 days after Saturday. From there it is 57 days to Champions Day at Fair Grounds, which is our primary goal with him this fall."

This will not be Star Guitar's first foray into open company. He ran a close third to Bullsbay, winner of last Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga, and Cool Coal Man, a two-time stakes winner in New York this summer, in the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.

Star Guitar's primary opposition in the Mile also is a Louisiana-bred, Ide Like a Double. The defending champion in the race, Ide Like a Double comes off a 5 1/4-length score in the Oak Hall Stakes against open rivals here on July 18.