02/28/2009 1:00AM

Winners come from last in turf stakes


The past performances for the pair of Louisiana-bred 3-year-old turf stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds told a muddled tale. It was no surprise then that longer-priced horses captured both the Gentilly and Sarah Lane's Oates stakes. In the Gentilly, it was 15-1 Milwaukee Miracle who rallied down the middle of the track to win going away. And two races later, 8-1 Wanna Cuddle ran past heavily favored Tensas Palmyra in upper stretch to score by almost three lengths in the Sarah Lane's Oates.

The two winners had a point of commonality: Each raced in last place early.

Milwaukee Miracle, in fact, was last into the far turn of the $60,000 Gentilly, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, but finished far better than any of his eight rivals under jockey Donnie Meche.

Making his turf debut and first start away from Delta Downs and Louisiana Downs for trainer Bob Young, Milwaukee Miracle galloped along as Lee City Slew set the pace, with entrymates Shockin Blow and Silent Pipe pressing in second and third. The front-runners started backing up before the quarter pole, and Smoothcideup was the first to pounce. Hear No Angel also rallied into a contending position, but Meche and Milwaukee Miracle moved last and moved best. Coming outside the other closers, Milwaukee Miracle swept to the lead inside the eighth pole and drew clear late, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths over Smoothcideup, with Hear No Angel third. The winner paid $33.80 and was timed in 1:46.76 for about 1 1/16 miles on firm turf.

In the $60,000 Sarah Lane's Oates for 3-year-old fillies, first-time turfer Wanna Cuddle was shuffled back to last of 10 going into the first turn, but her fortunes improved steadily from there. Jockey Corey Lanerie let Wanna Cuddle ease up through the rear of the field as the horses ran down the backstretch, and by the middle of the far turn, Wanna Cuddle had aim on the leaders. She held her position nicely while coming wide into the stretch and quickly moved to the front once she straightened away and switched leads. Even-money favorite Tensas Palmyra had little response, as Wanna Cuddle went on to a 1 3/4-length win for the Daniel Family Farm and trainer Sam Ishaq. She was timed in 1:39.66 for about a mile and paid $19.80 to win. Tensas Palmyra's number was left up on the place spot after an inquiry, and 70-1 Sunday in the Bay finished third.