06/13/2007 12:00AM

Statebreds point for two festivals, but may skip one

Email

BOSSIER CITY, La. - Action in the statebred ranks in Louisiana this summer promises to be as hot as the weather.

A couple of key allowance preps last weekend produced at least two possible players for Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline Downs on June 30 and Louisiana Downs Champions Day on July 21. Both of those programs will be devoted entirely to Louisiana-breds.

"We were just thrilled," said trainer Diane Soileau after she sent out Kimua Baby ($26) to win last Saturday's opening-race allowance. A 4-year-old Zarbyev filly, Kimua Baby turned back a bid from 3-5 favorite Leesa Lee and prevailed by four lengths.

"She's a little tired," Soileau said Sunday morning. "I just got this filly a couple of weeks ago along with some others for [owner] George Ackel."

Plans for Kimua Baby include at least one of the summer marquee events for Louisiana-bred filly and mare sprinters.

"She is going to be nominated for both the Evangeline race and the one here at Louisiana Downs," said Soileau. "Three weeks between races looks a little close for us to run in both. We will just have to see how the two races shape up."

Saturday's action also produced a win from Chip Hunter ($4.20) following a patient and confident ride from Carlos Gonzalez. Trained by James Hodges, Chip Hunter edged away in the drive in the optional claimer for statebreds on the turf.

Hodges said his plans for Chip Hunter are pretty specific, since Evangeline's turf course is still in the development stages and the barn's goal for the summer is a return engagement in the $100,000 Shiskabob States on Champions Day.

"We nominated to the Evangeline race, but since that race is on dirt, we are looking at an allowance race on the grass here on July 4 as a final prep," Hodges said.

Hodges did voice the same concerns that several horsemen have noted regarding the close proximity of the two big dates for Louisiana-breds.

"I agree with those who say that there is not really enough time between the two days," he said. "It is tough to ship down there in this heat and humidity and then have to haul back. We could have used another week, but we have to run when they write the races."

'Babe' back on main track

Friday's feature, a $31,000 second-level allowance at seven furlongs on the main track, may have some implications of its own in a couple of weeks. Four of the eight Louisiana-bred fillies and mares exit stakes company, including the lightly raced Carson City Babe.

Trained by Eddie Johnston, Carson City Babe won her first two starts sprinting on the main track at Fair Grounds before finishing fourth and sixth in a pair of turf route stakes.