Updated on 09/17/2011 8:38PM

Storm Surge uses new tactic to win

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Louis Hodges Jr.
Storm Surge, with Robby Albarado riding, takes the Lecomte by a neck over Smooth Bid (rail) after rallying from last and surviving a stewards' inquiry.

NEW ORLEANS - Storm Surge won the Saturday at Fair Grounds as expected, but not the way he was expected to.

Instead of sending even-money Storm Surge to the lead in the mile race, jockey Robby Albarado allowed him to settle back in last at one point in the race behind an extremely slow pace, then rallied past the leaders on the far turn and gamely held the lead through the stretch to finish a neck clear of Smooth Bid. Kansas City Boy was a head back in third. Smooth Bid and Kansas City Boy bumped repeatedly in deep stretch, and the stewards immediately posted the inquiry sign after the race. Donnie Meche, who rode Smooth Bid, then claimed foul against the winner. After the review the results stood.

Albarado surprised everyone when he wrapped up on Storm Surge right out of the gate, forcing Corey Lanerie to the lead with Major League from his inside post, with Kansas City Boy and Carlos Marquez Jr. pressing the pace, followed by Smooth Bid, Storm Surge, and Silver Haze.

"This colt is really good out of the gate, so we decided just to let him break on his own and see what developed," said Storm Surge's trainer, Dallas Stewart. "He got really relaxed with him down the backstretch, maybe even more so than we expected."

The group crawled through fractions of 24.65 seconds and a half in 49.62. Approaching the far turn Storm Surge was actually last in the field. That's when Albarado pushed the button. "Robby bumped him a little bit, and he just jumped into the bridle," said Stewart.

Storm Surge ($4) looked like a true route horse circling the field on the turn, despite running the six furlongs in a pedestrian 1:14.62

The top three battled through the lane, finishing in 1:39.34. Silver Haze and Major League completed the order of finish.

Stewart said that Storm Surge would run next in the Risen Star stakes Feb. 12.

The field was reduced to five runners when Biloxi Palace scratched within an hour of the race after coming down with a cough.

* In the $100,000 Tiffany Lass, The Beter Man Can moved to challenge Punch Appeal, the 2-5 favorite, for the lead on the far turn, made the lead at the top of the stretch, and held off a steady rally from Enduring Will to win by a neck. Punch Appeal was third. The Beter Man Can ($24.40) covered the mile in 1:39.59.

* America Alive ($8.20) was up at the wire to win the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap by a head.

* Ambition Unbridled ($44.20) took the lead at the top of the stretch, then held off Tara's Touch to win the $100,000 Dr. A.B. Leggio Handicap by a half-length.