Updated on 09/17/2011 2:15PM

'Walk' uses new tactics

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Walk This Way, Corey Lanerie up, wins the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds Saturday at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS - Walk This Way raced close to the lead and faded in his grass debut, a fourth-place finish 15 days ago at Fair Grounds. Saturday, when it counted more, his connections changed tactics. This time, Walk This Way ran slow early and faster late, and got up to win the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths over Old Lee, the favorite.

Walk This Way, winning for the third time in 10 starts for owner Stanley Seelig and trainer Patrick Mouton, paid $17.40 to win. Old Lee, another stretch runner, was a clear second, followed by Peggy's Promise. Mr. Sam, who might have been the favorite, was an early scratch. Walk This Way was timed in 1:37.39 for about one mile.

Shane Sellers was named to ride Walk This Way, but Corey Lanerie was aboard for the Gentilly, a one-mile grass race for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds. Lanerie got it right. The turf rail was moved to its innermost position Saturday, opening an unused swath of fresh grass. The footing might have been better along these paths, and Lanerie stayed inside for much of the race.

Up front, the leaders were setting splits over a course that has grown hard and fast. Arcus, who would fade to last, went an opening quarter-mile in 23.48 seconds, with Katzanoza and Acupuncture close behind. Even for a very firm course, the pace to the half was quick, 47.34 seconds, and the closers figured to be finishing.

Lanerie eased off the fence to avoid traffic, in so doing switching out to the battered portion of the course, but it didn't slow Walk This Way. Old Lee came running along the inside and got a perfect run when a hole opened at the furlong pole, but simply was not good enough.

* In the eighth race, Great Bloom set a turf course record, running about one mile in 1:35.57. The old mark of 1:35.80 had stood since 1982. Great Bloom won a high-level allowance race by a neck and a head while racing over a very fast-playing course.