02/20/2010 1:00AM

Stonehouse suprises in Mineshaft

Louis Hodges Jr.
Jody Slew (outside) nails Quiet Temper on the wire in the Grade 3 Silverbulletday.

NEW ORLEANS - Stonehouse surprised everyone but his trainer as he put a neck in front of General Quarters to win the at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

Sent early to tackle heavy favorite Friesan Fire early in the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft, General Quarters dueled with the odds-on favorite, eventually wearing him down. Stonehouse, the longest shot in the field, bid three wide at the top of the stretch, as Friesan Fire began to fade.

With Stonehouse coming on, General Quarters was headed, then re-rallied, and just missed.

"General Quarters put some pressure on the first turn, and I had a lot of horse at the second turn," said Stonehouse's jockey Miguel Mena.

For Stonehouse's trainer Spanky Broussard, the victory was vindication for a horse he thought was underestimated.

"This little horse can run. He's already proved it, won over half a million dollars and run everywhere," said Broussard.

For second-place finisher General Quarters, it was a tough defeat.

"We fell back a little bit and he got his breath and came back within a head," said trainer Tom McCarthy. "He went right up there with Freisan Fire, and we put him away, but we opened it up for someone else."

McCarthy indicated General Quarters would be back for the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 27.

Broussard is not sure where Stonehouse will run next.

"It seems like he's getting better, and he's got a lot more race left in him," said Broussard. "When the truck pulls up, he jumps right in."

Stonehouse went the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.09 and paid $35.60 to win. General Quarters was second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Giant Oak.

With Friesan Fire finishing fourth, the show pool paid handsomely, with returns of $27.60, $8.40 and $13.60.

Fair Grounds 'Cap: Blues Street draws off

Blues Street lived up to top-billing as he took control of Saturday's at the top of the stretch and won going away.

After racing among the second flight of horses, more than seven lengths behind early pacesetter Acting Zippy, jockey Javier Castellano guided Blues Street forward into the stretch.

Blues Street, a 6-year-old gelded son of Street Cry, ranged up alongside momentary leader Dubious Miss and easily passed, finishing 2 1/2 lengths in front. Dubious Miss held second place, 4 1/2 lengths in front of Baltimore Bob.

"I was really happy with the way the race developed," said Castellano. "I was very satisfied."

For Ginny Depasquale, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, the $100,000 Fair Grounds Handicap showcased Blues Street's typical running style.

"He usually sits back, and then by the time he gets to the quarter pole, he's outside and makes one sustained run," said Depasquale. "I think he's improving with age."

Blues Street went the mile and an eighth in 1:51.71 over a firm Fair Grounds turf, and paid $5.80 as the favorite. It was his first graded stakes win, and the victory took his bankroll past $300,000 for owners Anstu Stables.

For Dubious Miss, the second place effort was a big improvement, following a sixth-place finish in the Tenacious Handicap.

"My horse ran a very big race," said jockey Patrick Valenzuela. "The winner was a tough horse today, but my horse ran a very big race."

Silverbulletday: Jody Slew scores another upset

A fluke? Not exactly.

Jody Slew surprised the Tiffany Lass Stakes here last month at odds of 23-1. Virtually anonymous then, she had been privately purchased as a turf prospect, and was tossed into the Tiffany Lass for lack of a better option. But Jody Slew went out and did it again Saturday, scoring a milder 8-1 upset in the . Under Miguel Mena, Jody Slew closed steadily while racing on the outside, and nipped pacesetting Quiet Temper at the wire, winning by a nose.

Jody Slew ($18) is owned by the Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan, and is trained by Bret Calhoun, who won his second straight stakes on Saturday's program. A one-time maiden-claimer, she's a daughter of Slew City Slew, and she won Saturday for the fourth time in nine starts.

Calhoun said Jody Slew is a different horse in the morning and the afternoon. In her works, Calhoun said, the filly has been sharp and crisp, but when she races, Jody Slew drops straight back at the start, then comes with a long, one-paced run.

"She's showing a lot of talent, but I don t think she's running her best yet," said Mena. "She's still green.

Quiet Temper, leaving from the rail, made a clear early lead under Robby Albarado. She set a quick pace to the half-mile, 47.50 seconds, and came to the stretch call still on a three-length lead, but Jody Slew came closing. The two fillies hit the wire in tandem, and both Mena and Calhoun thought Jody Slew had lost. Instead, it was a second straight stakes win, and a graded victory on the filly's record.

Quiet Temper was 10 lengths clear of third-place Age of Humor, while 4-5 favorite Devil May Care faded to fifth of six after challenging for the lead at the three-eighths pole. Devil May Care, in from Florida for trainer Todd Pletcher, acted up in the gate, forcing Javier Castellano to dismount and be re-seated before the start.

"The rider said she was a little nervous warming up," said assistant trainer Ginny Depasquale. "She'd been relaxed around here all week."

Colonel Power: 'Chamberlain' overcomes slow start

Off a step slow, away from the races since October - and no worries for the crack turf sprinter Chamberlain Bridge. Quickly recovering from his belated beginning, Chamberlain Bridge overpowered pacesetting Turfiste at the top of the stretch and stayed on stoutly to win the $60,000 Colonel Power Handicap on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Six-year-old Chamberlain Bridge ($4) won for the 12th time in his career and scored his 10th turf-sprint victory. A one-time claimer, the diminutive chestnut gelding is closing in on $700,000 in career earnings for owner Carl Moore and trainer Bret Calhoun.

"He's really small, but he's got a big heart," Calhoun said.

Chamberlain Bridge has plenty of early speed but broke last in a 10-horse field Saturday, spotting all his rivals at least a length out of the gate.

"He did get off a little slow, but he got his feet under him pretty quickly," jockey Jamie Theriot said.

Chamberlain Bridge passed most of the field before the first furlong and took up a stalking position into the far turn. When called upon, he attacked and easily passed Turfiste at the top of the stretch, and second-place Country Day could not make a late dent in his advantage, with Chamberlain Bridge home by three-quarters of a length. The winner was timed in 1:04.29 for 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf. Wise River rallied for third.

Pan Zareta: Double Espresso upsets

Four Gifts was scratched, Juliet's Spirit was scratched, and none of the four horses left in the $56,400 Pan Zareta Stakes had early speed. A slow pace, a favorable pressing trip, and 6-1 shot Double Espresso scored a narrow upset over heavily favored Dubai Majesty.

Double Espresso, winning her first stakes, took over from pacesetting Simplify in upper stretch, and thanks in part to favorable circumstances, held off Dubai Majesty's late charge. Double Espresso won by a head, paying $14.20 to win, and covered six furlongs in 1:10.82. Ridden by James Graham, the Medaglia d'Oro filly is trained by Tom Amoss for owner Goldmark Farm.

How complete was the Pan Zareta pace void? Simplify, a horse that comes from the back of the pack, had a one-length lead at the first call, leading through an opening quarter-mile in 22.96 seconds. Far lower-class horses were racing 21-second-and-change opening quarter-miles earlier Saturday. Dubai Majesty was last in the early going and had to split horses while closing into a tepid 46.70-second half-mile pace.

Coy Cat finished third, Simplify fourth. Show wagering was canceled because of the scratches.

- additional reporting by Marcus Hersh