02/03/2011 5:30PM

Stidham has threats in Black Gold, Tiffany Lass


It was about this time last year that Comedero embarked on a five-race winning streak after being privately purchased by owner Peter Redekop and turned over to trainer Mike Stidham. Inhisglory, purchased since his last start by Redekop and turned over to Stidham, has a long ways to go to follow the half-million-dollar path blazed by Comedero, but he might have as good a chance as any of the six horses entered in the $60,000 Black Gold Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

And while Redekop doesn’t own her – she’s the property of Prime Equestrian SARL – Stidham trains Flash Mash, a filly who should have a major say in the $60,000 Tiffany Lass if she rebounds from a dismal showing at Delta Downs last month.

Flash Mash won her debut over the Keeneland Polytrack and annihilated three opponents in an entry-level, dirt-sprint allowance race Nov. 27 at Fair Grounds, winning by more than 10 lengths while ridden out. That form made her a 4-5 favorite in the $200,000 My Trusty Cat Stakes on Jan. 14 at Delta, but Flash Mash appeared to struggle from the first jump, checking in sixth while beaten almost 16 lengths.

“What we think is that she didn’t handle that deep, cuppy surface,” Stidham said. “We worked her since then, she worked very well, and we’re hoping she bounces back.”

Flash Mash has five foes in the six-furlong Tiffany Lass, and on paper, Wicked Deed looks like the most formidable of them. Wicked Deed lost her first two starts in New York, but after coming to New Orleans she won her maiden by more than six lengths and won a Jan. 16 first-level allowance by a half-length for trainer Steve Asmussen’s stable.

Inhisglory, meanwhile, is the only three-time winner in the six-furlong Black Gold, which would look like a second-level allowance race if not for his presence. Inhisglory won his debut at Presque Isle Downs, flopped in a Woodbine allowance race, and then won a Turfway Park allowance race before capturing the $50,000 Turfway Park Preview by a nose Jan. 8. All those races came on synthetic surfaces, but Inhisglory has posted two solid-looking dirt works since shipping into Fair Grounds.

Divine Music, however, might be the horse to beat in the Black Gold. Divine Music won his maiden second time out over Woodbine Polytrack but appears to have improved since switching to dirt racing at Fair Grounds. On Dec. 26 he finished second in a first-level allowance to Herp, who was being pointed to the Lecomte Stakes before suffering an injury. And on Jan. 15, Divine Music took a nice step forward, rallying from just off the pace to clear his first allowance condition by almost two lengths, beating Hydro Power, who also returns in the Black Gold.

Rail-drawn Changing the Rules won a May 31 maiden race by 12 lengths at Churchill, but his next start didn’t come until Jan. 15, when he finished fourth behind Divine Music. Trubs made his last three starts around two turns and may improve dropping back into a sprint. Thewayitusedtobe, a likely pace factor, finished ninth behind Inhisglory in the Turfway Preview but did win a minor Canterbury Park stakes last summer.