Updated on 09/16/2011 8:56AM

Trosclair shoots and scores


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Jeff Trosclair said he was just "taking a shot" with Skate Away in Saturday's at Fair Grounds. It turns out Skate Away fit the race just fine. With heavily favored Better Talk Now backing out of the Woodchopper in upper stretch, Skate Away made a clear lead in midstretch and held off a late rally from Seainsky to win by a neck.

"I guess he could step up one day and be a really nice horse," Trosclair said. "Or this might have been the pinnacle. I don't really know yet."

This was not the first good move Trosclair has made at Fair Grounds. With Skate Away winning here twice, Trosclair has started the meet 3 for 3, and was especially happy to notch a stakes win for his longtime client Mack Robinson.

"He bred this horse, and that makes it even more special," Trosclair said.

The victory was the third in three turf races for Skate Away, who won a first-level allowance on the Delaware Park turf in June and a two-other-than allowance on the Fair Grounds grass Nov. 28.

For 3-year-olds on turf, the about 1 1/16-mile Woodchopper looked on paper like a wide-open race, except for one possible standout: Better Talk Now. Better Talk Now had easily won two straight on turf, and he vanned here from Maryland earlier this week with the look of a developing turf star. Adrian Rolls, trainer Graham Motion's assistant, said Better Talk Now had settled in nicely at Fair Grounds, but Better Talk Now, wearing front bandages for the first time, never settled into a rhythm and was beaten before the real running began in the Woodchopper.

"He basically ran as hard as he could for as long as he could," Rolls said.

Meanwhile, jockey Gerard Melancon gave Skate Away a perfect trip, dropping him down to the rail before they hit the first turn and saving ground the whole trip. After tracking solid fractions of 49.17 seconds for a half-mile and 1:13.79 for six furlongs, Skate Away angled off the rail turning for home and took the lead. Melancon said Skate Away lost his focus when he struck the front, and his lack of attention allowed Seainsky to gain ground in the final furlong.

"He did that last time too and almost got beat," Melancon said. "But I got this one by a good neck. When you let this horse go, he gives you everything he's got. I really like this colt."

Skate Away, almost 6-1, paid $13.80 to win while keying a $289.20 exacta with Seainsky. Runaway Choice, with the pace the whole way, held on for third, with Better Talk Now fading to eighth. Skate Away was timed in 1:45.25 over firm turf.