06/02/2009 11:00PM

Vickies in Town reaffirms her fondness for the turf


BOSSIER CITY, La. - It took trainer Ray Spencer nine months to get Vickies in Town back on the grass, but the wait has been well worth it. Last Friday, the 4-year-old Vickies in Town returned to the turf for the first time since her debut on the surface, a solid second last August in the Elge Rasberry Stakes as a 17-1 outsider.

Under Spencer's son-in-law and defending riding champ Don Simington, Vickies in Town overcame minor traffic problems in upper straight before kicking strongly clear in the second-level allowance for statebred fillies and mares at Louisiana Downs.

"The plan was to get her back on the grass as soon as we could early in the meeting," said Spencer, who also owns Vickies in Town after purchasing her as a yearling for a modest $3,000 in the 2006 Louisiana Breeders' sale.

"She really did not handle the track down at Delta the last couple of times we started her earlier in the year," Spencer said. "That is why we stopped on her and waited for Louisiana Downs to start."

That poor Delta form, combined with some solid competition, resulted in Vickies in Town being dismissed last week at almost 9-1, a price not likely to be repeated anytime soon, at least not if she races on grass.

"She still has her nonwinners-other-than statebred condition left," Spencer said. "Hopefully she can get in one of those spots before we try stakes company again. Right now we are looking at the Louisiana Cup Distaff here on Aug. 1."

Roberts gets most out of 'Mardi Gras'

When apprentice Anna Roberts is asked in the future about her early days as a rider, it is going to be awfully easy for the 20-year-old to come up with a favorite horse.

Roberts picked up her first career win last month while riding at Evangeline Downs on board the 8-year-old King of Mardi Gras. Last Saturday, Roberts broke into the win column for the first time at Louisiana Downs with the very same horse.

Roberts kept King of Mardi Gras clear of traffic on the outside before making a move down the stretch. Trained by Jorge Lara, King of Mardi Gras has won 17 of 61 starts.

Slight edge to Cajun Persuasion

Friday's $24,000 entry-level allowance feature drew an evenly matched field of seven slated to go five furlongs on the turf.

Recent maiden winner Cajun Persuasion could be a slight favorite after graduating over the Evangeline turf course in his last start. Trained by Eric Guillot, Cajun Persuasion also finished second in his only other start on grass, a statebred maiden special weight race at Fair Grounds in early January.