12/13/2014 7:46PM

String King wins Louisiana Classics Day Turf for third time

Lou Hodges Jr.
String King (center), under jockey James Graham, powers home in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf on Saturday.

String King is by nothing and out of nothing, as they say of horses of obscure pedigree, but, man, is he something.

Rallying from midpack under James Graham, String King burst to the lead in midstretch and ran on to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf on Saturday at Fair Grounds. It was String King’s third win in the race, and he set a Fair Grounds grass-course record of 1:41.84 for 1 1/16 miles, eclipsing the old mark of 1:42 set by Dixie Poker Ace in 1984.

String King is a son of Crowned King and a mare named String Attack by the Irish-bred sire Fly A Kite, a pedigree only the most avid breeding enthusiast could appreciate. Charlie Smith, though, thought long and hard years ago about mating the modest String Attack, and he made a fine choice. Smith bred String King, owns him, and trains him, too, and String King, on the cusp of his 7th birthday, has rewarded Smith with 14 wins and earnings of more than $750,000.

String King won the Champions Day Turf in 2011 and 2012 and gave Sunbean all he could handle in finishing second in the 2013 Champions Day Classic before returning to his preferred surface and capturing a third Turf.

“There’s really nothing left to say about him,” Smith said. “I can’t tell you anything about him other than what he’s done.”

Tiger Run won a three-horse photo for second, edging Stormdriver and McGehee’s Mercy, and ran a brave race in so doing. Tiger Run set splits of 23.31 seconds, 47.19, and 1:11.09, a testing pace even on this faster-playing course. Benwill, the 7-2 second choice, flattened out and finished fifth. String King paid $3 to win as the heavy favorite.

Too Dim Catches Heitai Again

Too Dim beat Heitai by a neck to win the $100,000 Champions Day Sprint, overcoming a terrible start with a powerful, sustained rail rally under Miguel Mena.

The result nearly duplicated a Nov. 22 allowance-race prep for the Sprint in which Too Dim ran down Heitai to win by a neck, but Too Dim’s victory Saturday could not have been predicted just after the start. Too Dim reared just as the gate opened, spotting the rest of the field at least six or seven lengths, and as Too Dim tried to regain contact, Heitai shot off to a clear lead.

Heitai’s speed barely is controllable, and he blazed through splits of 21.33 seconds for his first quarter-mile and 44.13 for the opening half. Heitai still held a five-length lead at the stretch call, but then his early exertions took their toll. His stride shortening, Heitai began coming back to the field, and as he faded, Too Dim kept coming and coming. Cutting the corner without ever having to leave the fence, he collared Heitai a couple strides from the wire, pushing past for a remarkable victory.

Too Dim stopped the timer in 1:10.08 for six furlongs on a fast track and paid $11.20 as the second choice. Heitai, the 3-5 favorite, finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of third-place All Owls.

Trained by Eddie Johnston for William Deckwa Jr., Too Dim is a son of Mutakddim and the mare All Too Well. He won for the 10th time in 22 starts while scoring his first stakes victory and ran his Fair Grounds record to 6-0-1 from eight starts.

Mr. L. S. Shoe still perfect

Mr. L. S. Shoe overcame a difficult post position to win the $100,000 Juvenile by about three lengths over Jazzy Rebel. The victory was the third from as many starts for Mr. L. S. Shoe, a gelded son of Forefathers bred and owned by Phyllis Hodges and trained by James “Sweet” Hodges.

Mr. L. S. Shoe broke from post 14 in the six-furlong Juvenile, but jockey James Graham, riding his second stakes winner on the card, was able to get his mount into about the two path before hitting the far turn.

Mr. L. S. Shoe always was traveling well for Graham and quickly seized the lead when asked for run in the homestretch. Jazzy Rebel finished decently but was no match for the winner. Grande Basin finished third.
The favorite, Mr. L.S.Shoe ran six furlongs in 1:11.68 and paid $4.80.