02/21/2015 7:41PM

Street Babe scores longshot victory in Mineshaft Handicap

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Street Babe (left) beats Mystery Train by three-quarters of a length Saturday in the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS – Street Babe, a 4-year-old gelding who was making his third start, and jockey Kerwin Clark, who picked up the mount shortly before entries were taken Monday, combined for a 21-1 victory Saturday in the $125,000, Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Michael Dilger gave the credit to Stu Subotnick of Anstu Stables for making the call to send Street Babe from Palm Meadows to Fair Grounds for the race, his first in stakes company.

“It was his idea,” Dilger said of Subotnick, whose wife, Anita, is the other member of the ownership team.

The decision came soon after Street Babe's second start, in which he finished second in a first-level allowance race Dec. 31 at Gulfstream Park.

“We just thought the longer stretch might suit him,” said Dilger, who was starting a horse at Fair Grounds for the first time, though he had been here several times as an assistant for Todd Pletcher.

Clark, a veteran Fair Grounds jockey, gave Street Babe a smooth trip. He settled in third place behind the pacesetter Mystery Train and Nates Mineshaft in the early running. Mystery Train set a solid pace, running the first quarter-mile in 23.18 seconds, the half in 46.97, and six furlongs in 1:11.09.

On the final turn, Street Babe swept toward the leader and moved in front approaching the eighth pole. Mystery Train dug in, but Street Babe held him off the three-quarters of the length. Red Rifle, the favorite, finished third, another 2 1/2 lengths back, in a field of 10 older horses.

Street Babe ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.58 and paid $44.80 to win.

“You're going to hear from this horse,” said Clark, who before Monday morning, never had heard of him.

“Albano was supposed to be the horse, and he didn't work quite the way we wanted him to, so we passed on this race,” Clark said of a colt he worked Monday for trainer Larry Jones.

Lenny Pike, Robby Albarado's agent, approached Jeff Trosclair, Clark’s agent, with the news that Dilger needed a rider for Street Babe.
The pick-up mount paid off.