12/31/2010 8:27PM

Switch to sloppy track doesn't bother Max Me Out

Lou Hodges Jr.
Max Me Out, ridden by Jamie Theriot, wins the off-the-turf Woodchopper.

A wet day in New Orleans turned the final turf stakes of the year for 3-year-olds into the final dirt stakes of the year for 3-year-olds, and that worked just fine for Max Me Out. Max Me Out had failed even to finish third in four turf tries, but he skipped over the muddy Fair Grounds surface and won an off-the-grass edition of the $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes late Friday afternoon.

Max Me Out, ridden to victory by Jamie Theriot, was winning for the fourth time in 16 career starts. He tracked the solid pace of head-strong Royal Express from second, took over the lead after three-quarters of a mile, and drew slowly but steadily clear through the stretch, beating runner-up Royal Express by 1 3/4 lengths. Red Strike, the 4-5 favorite, stumbled badly at the start and wound up third.

Max Me Out paid $11.40 to win, and was timed in 1:45.19 for one mile and 70 yards. Owned by a partnership, Max Me Out is trained by Leo Gabriel, who won the eighth stakes race of 3,038-start career.

Populist Politics takes Louisiana Futurity

Populist Politics didn’t get to the races soon enough to attempt the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, but a debut win on opening day of the Fair Grounds meet set him up for victory in the $109,825 colts and geldings division of the Louisiana Futurity on Friday.

Jockey Richard Eramia aggressively shook up Populist Politics entering the far turn of the six-furlong Futurity, determined to have his mount hold onto a contending position over a wet racetrack carrying speed. Eramia got his wish, and Populist Politics came through along the rail to overhaul pacesetting Pale Blazer in midstretch. Pale Blazer faded to third, passed also by favored Toro Bravo, who was no late match for the winner.

Trained by Tom Amoss and owned by Klaravich Stables and William H .Lawrence, Populist Politics ($7.20) was timed in 1:12.72 for six furlongs on a muddy track. He’s a son of the young stallion Don’t Get Mad and was purchased for $70,000 at auction.


Sweet Ruston much the best among Futurity fillies

Sweet Ruston was beaten a nose in the Champions Day Lassie in her most recent start, but left no doubt who was the best horse in the $107,125 fillies division of the Louisiana Futurity. Making a strong three-wide move under Corey Lanerie after pressing the early pace, Sweet Ruston ($5.20) passed the wire 3 1/2 lengths clear of runner-up Illustrious Dream. Even-money favorite Take Me Home Too could only finish third.

The winner, trained by Mike Burgess and owned by Richard Ringo, was timed in 1:12.92.