12/16/2008 12:00AM

Superior Storm keeps rolling


Superior Storm gave her rivals in Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day Ladies a chance. The filly had injured her hoof in a sprint prep race for Champions Day and had missed training time leading to Saturday's race. But she still won the Ladies by two lengths while earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 91. The victory was her seventh straight in Louisiana-bred stakes competition, and Superior Storm - superior, indeed - has won nine races while compiling earnings of almost $426,000.

Superior Storm, clearly the leading Louisiana-bred distaffer of the moment, returned to trainer Richard Jackson's base at Oaklawn Park on Saturday night. The shipping back and forth to New Orleans, winning a stakes race, running after a minor injury - none of if got to this classy filly.

"Sunday morning, she was bouncing around like she hadn't done anything," Jackson said. "It's like she hasn't even been out of her stall. I thought she might be knocked out a little bit from missing the training. But I couldn't be any happier with her."

Jackson said Superior Storm was likely to make her next start in the American Beauty Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 17 at Oaklawn Park. But trainers of Louisiana-breds cannot take heart, for that start merely will be a prep for Superior Storm's next major goal, a Louisiana-bred stakes in February at Delta Downs.

Superior Storm, a Stormy Atlantic homebred owned by Jack Dickerson, is the rare horse that seems equally effective routing and sprinting. Saturday, she quickly relaxed for jockey John Jacinto, waiting for her cue to go and get the early leaders.

"She gets a little anxious leaving the gate, but after that you can pretty well do anything you want to with her," Jackson said.

Stall planning to stretch out Star Guitar

Now that Star Guitar has gotten his win in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint out of the way, it is on to route racing, trainer Al Stall said.

"It's time now," Stall said. "He's going long."

Star Guitar rates well and seems to have the stride of a route horse, but he has made only five starts (winning four of them) on the eve of his fourth birthday and has only sprinted so far. Away from the races several months because of injury, Star Guitar returned this past fall at Louisiana Downs and had the Champions Day Sprint as his target. But the next major goal, according to Stall, is the $200,000 Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs, and to get to that 1 1/16-mile race, Stall will prep Star Guitar in the Jan. 3 Cypress Stakes going seven furlongs at Delta.

"We love him," Stall said. "He's a grand-looking horse. He just stands in the paddock, doesn't even think of moving one-hundredth of an inch, and he goes out there and tries hard."

Stall, meanwhile, has changed course with his promising 2-year-old colt Map of the World, who was entered in the hot entry-level route allowance race that was snowed out last Thursday. The allowance race is back on this Thursday's card, but Map of the World was entered instead in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl on Saturday.

"Our horse made a lot of mistakes in his last start, and I don't know if going two turns right now is the best thing," Stall said.

Saturday card features five stakes

The Sugar Bowl is one of five stakes on Saturday's program, which looks like an excellent day's racing and is by far the best program so far this meet.

Among the Saturday stakes is the $60,000 Bonapaw, which affords trainer Bret Calhoun a chance to tap into his deep contingent of turf sprinters. Calhoun entered Chamberlain Bridge in the Bonapaw, leaving Euroears, among the biggest stars last season at Fair Grounds, to await the Gaudin Handicap on Jan. 10.

Chamberlain Bridge will be favored in the Bonapaw, but it was Euroears who took the 2007-08 Fair Grounds meet by storm, winning four races, including three stakes, and scoring on both turf and dirt. Out for several months with an injury, Euroears suffered his first loss in his Nov. 22 comeback race at Churchill Downs, but Calhoun firmly believes he merely ran a short horse that day and said Euroears - who worked five furlongs Sunday - is training well.

"We decided to wait for the next one because we didn't want to put too many races in him too early in his campaign," Calhoun said.

Busy mornings at Fair Grounds

With training canceled last Thursday and all but abandoned Friday, the Fair Grounds work tab exploded in the following days, a sign of health at the meet. A total of 179 horses posted timed works Saturday, with 187 more working Monday, but the really busy day was Sunday, when a whopping 279 breezes were recorded.

Among the horses working Monday was the unbeaten 2-year-old filly Selva, who breezed a half-mile in 48.60 seconds, her first work since shipping into Fair Grounds from Kentucky. Selva remains on course to start Jan. 10 in the Tiffany Lass Stakes, which will mark her first race around two turns.

"She breezed well and she's doing as well as she can do right now," trainer David Carroll said.

Also pointing to the Tiffany Lass is Delta Princess winner Four Gifts, who worked a half-mile Monday.