Updated on 09/15/2011 1:34PM

Testify the standout in sprint

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Benoit & Associates
Commitisize stood at stud in Florida, but came back to racing last month at Churchill Downs.

NEW ORLEANS - Running short on grass, Testify is one of the better horses in the Midwest. Yet * is not even the best turf sprinter in his barn. That honor belongs to Morluc, perhaps one of the best turf sprinters in the world, judging from his showing last winter in a top-class race in Hong Kong.

But while trainer Randy Morse preps Morluc for a return trip to Hong Kong, it is Testify's turn to shine Thursday at Fair Grounds, where he rates as the horse to beat in the featured ninth race. Testify faces eight rivals in an "about" 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint written for nonwinners-of-two allowance or stakes races since Oct. 6.

It is a high-class condition, and with its $40,000 purse the race has attracted a good field that includes Commitisize, the 6-year-old horse attempting a comeback after standing as a stallion last season in Florida. A graded stakes winner, *, who is owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Steve Asmussen, made his first start in a year on Nov. 22 at Churchill, finishing third in a five-furlong turf sprint.

Testify also came back from a layoff to finish third in a Churchill turf sprint in November, though his break from racing lasted only five months. That race, a closing third behind Knave, a speed horse who ran an exceptional race to win, should set Testify up perfectly for a top effort Thursday, and a top effort would be more than sufficient to win. In the last start of his spring campaign, Testify finished second, beaten a length by Morluc, in the Grade 3 Aegon Turf, arguably the premier turf sprint stakes in the Midwest. Testify loves the Fair Grounds turf course and was an easy winner of two sprints here last season, and Robby Albarado, aboard for the colt's last three wins, has a call.

The pace in the race should be a strong one, with confirmed front-runners Oro Negra, Decorated Ego, and Cat Tracks likely to be on the lead. Oro Negra got within a length of Testify here last year, but as quick as he is from the gate, he might not be able to out-foot the speedy Cat Tracks for the early lead.

Final Row, who finished fifth behind Commitisize in his last race, also could find his way into the top three for trainer Tom Amoss.

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