12/19/2009 12:00AM

War Echo easily prevails in DRF Distaff

Lynn Roberts
War Echo scored by 3 1/2 lengths in the inaugural edition of the $100,000 Daily Racing Form Distaff on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said this week that War Echo would not be at her best for the on Saturday at Fair Grounds, but she was plenty good enough to win.

Victorious for the second time in a row after a poor comeback race following an injury layoff, War Echo squeezed through a narrow hole at the top of the stretch and went on to a 3 1/2-length victory in the inaugural edition of the $100,000 Daily Racing Form.

War Echo won the Silverbulletday Stakes in impressive fashion last February at Fair Grounds but was injured before an intended start in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Three-year-old War Echo just now is getting back to her best form, and she was much the best in the Daily Racing Form. Racing in fourth behind the quick early pace of Why Wonder Why, War Echo was angled to the rail by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan at about the three-eighth pole. That nearly led to trouble, but Why Wonder Why came off the fence just enough for War Echo to come through. Once in the clear, she widened steadily as Unforgotten's late run flattened out in the final furlong.

War Echo ($3.20) was timed in 1:52.20 for the nine furlongs on dirt, five-hundredths of a second longer than it took Star Guitar to win the Louisiana Champions Day Classic the race before. Unforgotten finished almost 10 lengths clear of third-place No Use Denying.

She's Our Annie wires Esplanade

On Feb. 6, 2009, She's Our Annie raced in second place at the second call of an Oaklawn Park maiden race. That was the last time another horse was in front of her.

She's Our Annie won her fifth straight race on Saturday at Fair Grounds, capturing the by 2 1/2 lengths. She's Our Annie led wire to wire, just as she did in her last three victories.

She's Our Annie, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, has won three stakes in a row. She has yet to run in a race with a six-figure purse but certainly looks like that kind of horse. Trainer Jinks Fires said she would start next in the American Beauty Stakes on opening day at Oaklawn Park and then be stretched out to route races if things go well there.

Breaking on top under Jon Court, She's Our Annie quickly opened a clear lead from post 1, skimming through her opening quarter-mile in 22.53 seconds, and going to the half-mile in 45.86. Juliet's Spirit tracked the pace and looked briefly in upper stretch like she might challenge She's Our Annie. But despite failing to change leads until deep stretch, She's Our Annie led by the same margin at the finish as she had at the stretch call.

She's Our Annie, heavily favored, paid $4.20 to win, and was timed in 1:03.97 for five and one-half furlongs. Juliet's Spirit finished almost three lengths ahead of third-place Northern Belle.

Grand Traverse takes Bonapaw at 18-1

Trainer Tim Glyshaw had two horses for the , 4-1 Turfiste and 18-1 Grand Traverse. Edge to longshot.

Turfiste set the pace in the Bonapaw, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint, but it was Grand Traverse who finished things off. Rallying from fourth at the top of the stretch, Grand Traverse took the lead from rail-skimming favorite Grand Adventure in deep stretch and prevailed by two lengths.

Grand Traverse had flopped last out in the Bet on Sunshine on the Churchill Downs dirt course, but he has handled the Fair Grounds grass course before, and did so under testing conditions Saturday. Fair Grounds was back on grass Saturday for the first time since being swamped by several inches of rain beginning last Saturday, and a course rated "yielding" was slow early, middle, and late. Turfiste was in the clear through splits of 23.29 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, and 47.60 to the half, but was unable to carry his speed. Grand Adventure took an inside run at the leader turning for home, and briefly looked like a winner before the eighth pole. But rallying wide, Grand Traverse was finishing stronger, and won going away.

Ridden by Victor Lebron, Grand Traverse paid $38 to win, and was timed in 1:05.81 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Storm Treasure ran late for third, 1 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Grand Adventure. The Grand Traverse-Grand Adventure exacta paid $163.

Margolis stays hot in Sugar Bowl

It's hard to go a day at this Fair Grounds meet without trainer Steve Margolis popping into the picture. There he was again after the , in which Cool Bullet became the 10th Margolis-trained winner of the young Fair Grounds season.

Not only has Margolis won with 9 of 20 starts already, five more of his horses have finished second, and another one third. The barn is on fire.

Cool Bullet scored for the second time at the meet, and won his first start outside maiden-claiming competition. A $4,000 sales purchase, Cool Bullet started twice at Delaware for a $50,000 claiming price, finishing second and fourth, before clearing the maiden ranks for that same $50,000 tag on Nov. 14 in New Orleans.

"He ran good at Delaware, but came up with a couple shins on him," Margolis said. "We did the right thing, brought him here, and he just started blossoming."

Cool Bullet, a 2-year-old gelded son of Red Bullet, won his maiden by more than six lengths, but had to fend off late-running Big Texas Daddy in the $60,000 Sugar Bowl. Racing between horses under Brian Hernandez Jr., Cool Bullet seized command at the top of the stretch, but Big Texas Daddy began closing resolutely, coming within a head of the winner.

"Turning for home, I thought he'd win a little easier than he did," Hernandez said. "He showed grit."

Cool Bullet paid $14.80 to win, and was timed in 1:10.85 for six furlongs. Enumerate finished a well-beaten third.

My Jen holds on in Letellier

Proven on Polytrack, My Jen aced her first dirt test in the , winning for the third time in as many starts.

My Jen easily won her career debut at Turfway Park on Oct. 2, and 20 days later squeaked past entry-level allowance foes at the Keeneland meet. Trainer Eddie Kenneally shipped My Jen to Florida, where she posted two December works at the Palm Meadows training center, then sent her on to Fair Grounds for a shot at black type.

The plan worked, but barely: My Jen was all out to hold off steadily closing Visavis, winning the Letellier by a scant nose.

Pressing the quick pace - 21.97 seconds for the opening quarter-mile - of Brown Eyed Baby, My Jen forged to the lead inside the final furlong. Visavis raced four wide around the turn after breaking from post 9, and was getting to the winner before running out of ground. Sheer Beauty finished a closing third. Best Reward was a veterinarian's scratch.

Two-year-old My Jen, ridden by Jamie Theriot, paid $13.40 to win, and was timed in 1:11.55 for six furlongs. A Fusaichi Pegasus filly, she is owned by Windmill Manor Farm.