05/23/2007 11:00PM

Victory the best medicine


BOSSIER CITY, La. – Nothing like a win to help ease the pain.

Trainer Pat Mouton, who underwent surgery for a bad back on May 7, undoubtedly could be seen grimacing a bit when he was putting the saddle on Cort’s P. B. for last Saturday’s Big Earl Stakes. A little more than a minute and three seconds after the latch was sprung for the 5 1/2-furlong sprint for Louisiana-breds, Mouton was noticeably lighter on his feet. Cort’s P. B. crossed the wire almost five lengths in front, coming within .20 of the track standard, set in 1994 by Fighting K.

“It’s not that bad,” Mouton said of his back the next morning. “They went in and did some work on some of the nerves.”

Mouton was much more willing to talk about Cort’s P. B. than he was himself.

“He ran like he was training,” he said. “We plan on running him on Evangeline’s Louisiana Legends Night on June 30 and then coming back here on Louisiana Downs Champions Day on July 21. After that, we will probably give him some time off.”

Cort’s P. B.’s latest stakes score was his fourth since Mouton claimed the 7-year-old here in September of last year.

Harrah’s defends Champions Day timing

While Mouton fully expects his durable charge to handle the three weeks between the summer’s premier events for Louisiana-breds, he admits he “could have used another week or two.”

His comments were not the first that Mark Midland, vice president of racing operations for Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, has heard recently regarding the three weeks between the two programs, which feature Louisiana-breds.

“I’ve had to explain this about half a dozen times lately,” Midland said Sunday morning. “That weekend just worked out the best for us. Last year we held the event in mid-August, and with Evangeline’s night on the same weekend as this year, there were only 21 horses that were entered in both events, and that was with seven weeks in between.

“The two programs are also a little bit different. We have the grass events that Evangeline does not, plus July 21 is a good date with regards to the national simulcast calendar. We catch a rather quiet Saturday that allows use to showcase our Louisiana product around the country.”

OTB off and running

A visit Monday afternoon to new the offtrack betting parlor in Mound, La., found a state-of-the-art facility that brings simulcasting back to the northeast corner of the state after a three-year absence. A former joint venture of Fair Grounds and Delta Downs, it has reopened as a Harrah’s Louisiana Downs property, the first for that track.

“We had a soft opening a couple of weeks ago,” said manager Alan Randall. “Our grand opening was this past Saturday. At post time for the Preakness, we had about 200 fans, which is right at capacity.”

The parlor is located just off I-20 at exit 182, and it is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.