07/30/2002 12:00AM

Young's starters win almost as often as not


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Trainer Troy Young ought to pitch a tent in the winner's circle at Louisiana Downs, because that's where he's been living the past month. On average this meet, Young has won with almost every other horse he has started, building an 8-for-18 record that places him third in the standings behind Bret Thomas and Cole Norman.

Young rolled into town the week of July 4, and won with his first five starters. Over all, he is saddling winners at a 44 percent clip at Louisiana Downs.

"It's hard to keep going at this rate, but it would be nice," said Young. "I hope I hadn't blown my wad yet."

Odds are he hasn't. In addition to a handful of promising young horses coming up, Young's barn is filled with reliable older horses such as Yoto Speakes, Mike's Sister, and One Brick Shy.

Mike's Sister won an allowance over crack sprinter Midge Too on Thursday, and could start next in the $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap on Aug. 24. "If she keeps doing the way she is, I'd have to give it a shot," Young said.

One Brick Shy could also see stakes action later this month if he continues to thrive. One Brick Shy has won his last two starts, and is under serious consideration for the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Philadelphia Park on Aug. 31. One Brick Shy won the inaugural Jewel in 1999.

Other top horses in Young's stable include Logans Leo, who is pointing for the $50,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap at Louisiana Downs on Saturday, and Sheza Nasty Lady, who finished a troubled third last Saturday in the $50,000 Chapel Belle Stakes.

"She had to check bad on the backside, and I think that took a little something out of her," said Young. "She never really did recover."

Sheza Nasty Lady will start next in the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap on Sept. 1, which is also the goal for Chapel Belle winner Just Scarlet.

Young's success is no surprise. He was well-schooled in the ways of racing by his father, Lee Young, who twice ranked as the nation's leading Quarter Horse trainer by wins while based in Louisiana.

Troy Young, 42, also spends most of his time in Louisiana, and after Louisiana Downs closes will race at Fair Grounds.

Took Out takes on tough field

Took Out, who ran fourth last out in the $125,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks, drops to the conditioned allowance ranks in the ninth race Thursday, but finds a tough field of fillies and mares. The race, at about a mile on turf, is worth $23,500.

In the Walmac last month, Took Out rallied over yielding turf to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind winner La Martina. Eddie Ruiz, who trains Took Out, felt the soft footing worked against his charge, and is hoping the filly will have a firm course to negotiate Thursday. She will be ridden by Glen Murphy.

Leading rider Kirk LeBlanc will be aboard Vanity Faire, another leading contender. In her last start Vanity Faire, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Hattiesburg, closed from more than 10 lengths off the pace to finish a close second in an entry-level turf allowance for trainer Duane Knipe.

Others of note in the allowance include Fresita, who is from Fresa, a turf stakes winner of $427,647; Philantha, third last out in an entry-level turf allowance at Lone Star; and Sassy Sandy, a half-sister to turf stakes winner Bien Nicole.

Big gains in handle

Louisiana Downs reported double digit gains in handle all last week, but business was particularly strong on Friday when the track handled a meet-high $3,227,163 on a 15-race card that included four trials for Quarter Horses.

Offtrack, handle was up 42 percent Friday, compared with the same card a year ago, which also featured the trials. Ontrack, handle rose 13 percent. Overall for the meet, handle and attendance are up from 2001.

"I attribute the increases to better racing, and more horses running," said Ray Tromba, general manager of Louisiana Downs. "The amount of [starters] is up almost a runner and a half."