09/03/2001 11:00PM

A Super Derby of his own


Joe Petalino, who was an assistant to trainer Jack Van Berg when Alysheba won the Grade 1 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., in 1987, will have his first starter in the race when it is renewed Sept. 23. The Petalino-trained Rare Cure earned a fees-paid berth into the $500,000 Super Derby on Monday when he won the $50,000 Prelude.

"We got invited, so we're planning on going to the Super Derby," said Petalino.

Rare Cure is the third Prelude winner Petalino has been associated with. On behalf of Van Berg, he saddled Tennessee Rite to win the race in 1984, and Catane in 1985. A couple of years later, Petalino played an integral role in the career of Alysheba, who shipped from Van Berg's division in New York - which was overseen by Petalino - and captured the Super Derby.

Rare Cure does not have the credentials of Alysheba, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before winning the Super Derby, but he does have promise. "Every race he's gotten better," said Petalino of Rare Cure, a Rare Brick colt, who has won three of his last five starts. "He's maturing right now."

Ron Ardoin rode Rare Cure to victory in the Prelude, and will be aboard the colt, who is owned by Larry Dyson, for the Super Derby.

Chausson Poire eyes DeBartolo Oaks

Chausson Poire, who collected her second stakes win of the meet on Sunday when she proved three lengths the best in the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap, is expected to make her next start in the $75,000 DeBartolo Oaks on the Super Derby undercard. "I usually like to give her a month between races, but she came back real good, so I'd say there's a 90 percent chance we're going in there," said trainer Duane Knipe.

Knipe has two other horses pointing for stakes in September. Champs Elysees, who is 4 for 5 on turf, will start in the $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup Turf on Sept. 15, while Main Street, who finished second at 28-1 in the $50,000 Barksdale last Saturday, is on deck for the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap on Sept. 22.

Knipe has spent the past 11 years racing on the East Coast, but moved his stable back to Louisiana Downs for this meet because of the promise of slots at the track. He said that after Louisiana Downs closes in November, he would like to remain in state and move his 21-horse stable to Fair Grounds.

Remington Rock returns Thursday

Remington Rock, who was scratched from the Barksdale Handicap last Saturday, makes his first start back from a three-month layoff Thursday in a one-mile optional claimer on the turf worth $23,000. The race has drawn 10, including stakes winner Smiling Prince, and the Cole Norman-trained pair of Silver Laughter and Crystal Gulch.

Remington Rock shows a sharp five-furlong work for Thursday's race, his first start since finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 28. Before that race he won the Grade 3 Fifth Season Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn Park. Trainer Richard Jackson has given the mount to Don Simington.

Midge Too may run at Keeneland

Midge Too, who defeated Hallowed Dreams in the $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap last month at Louisiana Downs, is under consideration for the Grade 3, $100,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 21, said trainer Jerry Cart.

Cinemine won the Thoroughbred Club in 1999 after taking the Monique Rene.

* Joe Farruggio, who last served as vice president of player development and credit at Hollywood Casino in Shreveport, has been named casino manager for Louisiana Downs.