03/21/2007 11:00PM

Undefeated Corrupt low odds in Grindstone


NEW ORLEANS - The undefeated Corrupt will go for his fourth victory and third consecutive stakes score at Fair Grounds on Saturday in the $100,000 Grindstone, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds. The Grindstone is one of five stakes on the card, which is topped by the $150,000 Duncan Kenner, a sprint for 3-year-olds and up. Another five stakes are scheduled for Sunday, closing day of the Fair Grounds season.

Corrupt should be heavily favored in the Grindstone after his win in the Mardi Gras Handicap on Feb. 26. He appeared hopelessly beaten in midstretch of that race before exhibiting an astonishing burst of speed that carried him to a two-length victory.

The move caught even trainer Jeff Trosclair by surprise.

"It was awesome," he recalled. "I thought he was beat."

Trosclair has been in charge of Corrupt at Fair Grounds for Chicago-based trainer Chris Block, whose family's stable, Team Block, owns the homebred. Team Block sold a half-interest in Corrupt after the Mardi Gras Handicap to Will Farish, whose Lane's End Farm stands Corrupt's sire, Belong to Me.

"He's worked very well since, and just as we were before the Mardi Gras Handicap, we're pretty excited about him," said Trosclair. "He looks like a horse who is going to mature into something special."

Corrupt wasted no time showing that potential, winning a turf maiden race Oct. 25 by 7 3/4 lengths, then scoring by a length at 1 1/16 miles in the Grand Canyon Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25. Corrupt was shortening up off a three-month layoff in the Mardi Gras, which had all the appearance of a prep race for bigger prizes down the road. But that was before Corrupt closed so impressively.

Mayor Bozarth, the only horse from the Mardi Gras Handicap that will try Corrupt again, had won twice on the Fair Grounds turf this meeting before finishing fourth in the Mardi Gras.

Classic: Mean Butterbean any price

Mean Butterbean has been sharp all winter for trainer Victor Arcenaux, and will be heavily favored in the $100,000 Lagniappe Classic, for older Louisiana-breds at 1 1/16 miles. Mean Butterbean, 5, finished a head behind Costa Rising in the Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Dec. 9, then won his next start, Delta's Lookout Stakes, before finishing second to Costa Rising again in the Feb. 3 Louisiana Premier Championship. With Costa Rising not entered in Saturday's Classic, Mean Butterbean appears to have this field at his mercy.

Mean Butterbean will race as part of a Brittlyn Stables entry for owner Evelyn Benoit, who also has the Al Stall Jr.-trained Grand Minit in the race.

Perfect Harmony, Diggy Fresh, and Nowandforevermore, the second, third, and fourth finishers from the March 3 Dixie Poker Ace, a grass route, all run back here. Perfect Harmony closed from the clouds to take second by a nose over Diggy Fresh, who led in the stretch before tiring to third. Nowandforevermore, the favorite in the race, had a rough trip and may have been best. The three finished within a length of each other.

Red Camelia: Raspberry Wine on turf

Raspberry Wine is the 120-pound highweight in the $100,000 Red Camelia Handicap for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares. She has won her last two races, the Louisiana Premier Distaff and Camelia Stakes at Delta Downs. But those races were on dirt and the Red Camelia is at 1 1/16 miles on the grass, a surface on which Raspberry Wine has never won.

She is also facing some stiff competition, including Equestrian Girls, who won this race last year when it was contested at Louisiana Downs; turf specialist Royal Madame, a 4-year-old daughter of Irish-bred Royal Strand who is coming off a pair of wins over the grass course; Fana and Corwyn's Shark, who finished second and third behind Royal Madame last time out; and Carson City Babe, unbeaten in two starts at the meet and making her first attempt on the grass.

Oaks: Three good ones clash

Mi Isabella, Princess Deelite, and Huckie, all stakes winners this winter, face off in the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles over the main track, and a strong case can be made for each of them.

Mi Isabella defeated open company before taking the Sarah Lane's Oates against statebreds on the turf. Princess Deelite is coming off a solid score over statebreds in the March 3 Happy Ticket Stakes. Huckie, winner of the Louisiana Lassie back in December on Champions Day, was fitted with blinkers for her last two starts, but trainer James Hodges will take the hood off this time.