03/15/2008 12:00AM

Storm Treasure rallies in Lacombe


It was like old times Saturday at Fair Grounds in the Allen Lacombe Memorial Handicap. Sure, trainer Steve Asmussen winning a stakes race in New Orleans is no new thing: Asmussen set a record for stakes wins by a trainer at a Fair Grounds meeting a couple months ago. But aboard Storm Treasure for his victory in the $60,000 Lacombe was Donnie Meche, who used to pilot much of Asmussen's top stock, but has long since been relegated to a more minor role in the operation.

Saturday, with Shaun Bridgmohan at Oaklawn to ride King's Silver Son for Asmussen, Meche got the call on Storm Treasure, but it was another Asmussen-trained horse, Inca King, who with jockey Eddie Martin was better fancied, going off the close second choice behind favored Sterwins. But neither Inca King, who raced just behind the lead group, nor Sterwins, who tried to close from far off the pace, was a match for Storm Treasure, who launched a wide rally at the top of the stretch and came home 1 1/2 lengths on top of second-place Winyah. Lattice, making his first start since August, put in a solid performance to finish third.

Storm Treasure paid $21.40 to win Saturday, as he turned in his best performance since a close third-place finish in the 2007 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup. Closing into solid early fractions (23.87 for the opening quarter-mile and 48.55 to the half), Storm Treasure covered one mile on firm turf in 1:37.88.