12/13/2008 1:00AM

Two trainers make the right choice


Trainer Richard Jackson said this week that he had considered running Superior Storm in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint, but in the end, Jackson chose the Champions Day Ladies, a route race. Trainer Eric Heitzmann went more than a step farther with his Louisiana-bred, Autobeacat, entering him in three spots Saturday before eventually choosing the $150,000 Classic over the Turf and the Starter.

Good calls, gentlemen.

Superior Storm, overcoming missed training time because of a foot problem, smoothly won the $100,000 Ladies by two lengths over Sammie Sam, and later in the day, Autobeacat wore down favored Star Production to capture the Classic by three-quarters of a length.

The Classic result washed clean a poor opening-weekend performance from Autobeacat, who was favored in the Mr. Sulu Stakes, but dueled on a fast pace, faded, and was beaten 14 lengths. Saturday, the Classic developed much differently, with front-running Snug taken back early, as Star Production and Autobeacat waltzed around the track in a high gallop.

"I thought the race would set up a little different," winning jockey Donnie Meche said. "I thought there'd be more pace in the race, but most of the speed took back behind me, and I ended up on the lead."

The half-mile split went in a dawdling 50.13 seconds, and no surprise, the race came down to the front-runners. Autobeacat ($13.80), owned by Murray Valene, started to push past Star Production an eighth-mile out, wavered a bit when he changed leads late, but hung on for victory, going 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.72.

Superior Storm ($4.60) won the Ladies more easily - especially impressive since she had battled a foot abscess after finishing second Nov. 16 in a sprint-allowance comeback race. Saturday, she settled in the second flight of horses under John Jacinto, moving easily into contention around the far turn. With Jacinto sitting still, Superior Storm came up to challenge the leaders in the stretch, and she went onto a comfortable victory.

"She's very special," said Jackson, who trains the filly for Jac Mac Stable. "She gives 100 percent whenever she runs."

Sammie Sam finished second, more than nine lengths in front of third-place Collectzcat. The winner was timed in 1:45.87 for 1 1/16 miles.