02/08/2011 4:12PM

Wine Police working toward 3-year-old debut at Fair Grounds

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Steve Asmussen hopes to bring Wine Police back in a first-level allowance race.

Wine Police, who looked like one of the better 2-year-olds at Saratoga last summer, is working steadily at Fair Grounds toward his 2011 debut.

“We’ve got a couple easy five-eighths in him,” trainer Steve Asmussen said last week.

Breezing again Monday, Wine Police got a little more serious, going five furlongs in 1:01.80, two full seconds faster than his work the week before.

Asmussen said last week that Wine Police was “still probably three weeks to a month away” from racing. Asmussen said his intent was to bring Wine Police back in an entry-level allowance race.

Wine Police, by Speightstown, won his debut by almost eight lengths over Soldat, whose recent Gulfstream allowance race win earned him notice as a Triple Crown hopeful. Wine Police raced only once more last summer, pressing the pace before fading late and finishing third behind Boys At Tosconova and Stay Thirsty in the Hopeful Stakes.

Snakebite Kit sidelined with injury

Notably absent from the Grade 3 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap on Jan. 22 was Louisiana-bred Snakebite Kit, who was set to make the jump from sharp statebred-restricted turf wins to open stakes competition but was injured a couple weeks before the Bradley. Trainer Eddie Johnston said Snakebite Kit had suffered a leg injury that would require 60 days to heal. Johnston said he hoped to return Snakebite Kit to serious training over the summer and point for the Louisiana Champions Day Turf, a race Snakebite Kit easily won in December.

Napravnik expands her lead

A three-win Monday gave jockey Rosie Napravnik a small amount of breathing space in the hotly contested race for leading rider at Fair Grounds. Through Monday, Napravnik – spending her first winter in New Orleans – had 47 victories, eight more than second-place Jamie Theriot and nine more than Richard Eramia.

Steve Asmussen’s barn sits atop the trainer standings with 26 wins at the meet. Asmussen has gone 26 for 129, second-place Tom Amoss 22 for 89, and third-place Mike Stidham 19 for 60.