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Star Guitar bids for third success on rescheduled LA Champions Day

Star Guitar has won 10 of 13 career starts (Lou Hodges Jr./Fair Grounds)
Eight-time stakes hero STAR GUITAR (Quiet American) starred in the past two editions of the Louisiana Champions Day program, but was forced to wait one week for the shot at taking his third different race at Fair Grounds when thunderstorms rolled through the New Orleans area last Saturday.

While the first eight races were conducted over a sloppy, sealed, surface, the rain took its toll, washing out parts of the track and eventually compelling track officials to cancel the remainder of the card. That left the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic S., Star Guitar's aim, to be rescheduled for this Saturday as part of the Santa Super Saturday card.

A marathon program of 13 races will be run with a special early post time of noon (CST). In addition to the four rescheduled Champions Day races, the lineups of which remained unchanged, the card also features the five open stakes originally scheduled for the day.

Star Guitar was successful in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile S. in 2007, and the Al Stall Jr. charge captured the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint S. in 2008. He has been virtually unbeatable against his fellow Pelican State natives, compiling a nine-for-10 mark in those ranks. The four-year-old bay hasn't done badly in open company either. Third in the Alysheba S. (G3) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, he defeated open rivals in the Evangeline Mile H. two back. Star Guitar extended his current winning streak to four in the Delta Gold Cup S. versus state-breds last out, and keeps Curt Bourque in the saddle here.

For those who may be looking for a way to oppose the likely heavy favorite, and 124-pound highweight, the one question mark could be the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Classic. Star Guitar threw in the only unplaced effort of his career in the New Orleans H. (G2) in his lone try at the trip. That was a much stiffer test than he'll face in the Classic, however, and Star Guitar looms as the overwhelming class of the short field.

Of his five opponents, four have already succumbed to Star Guitar in the past -- IDE LIKE A DOUBLE (Ide); TAKIN' THE BULLET (Red Bullet); STAR PRODUCTION (Run Production), who was just worn down in last year's Classic; and ironically, Star Guitar's own half-brother, GRAND MINIT (Grand Slam). The new shooter is BREAK UP (Sunday Break [Jpn]), the winner of the 2008 Champions Day Juvenile who has captured a pair of stakes over other three-year-olds this season.

DESERT WHEAT (Wheaton), hero of the Louisiana Champions Day Turf S. in 2006, will tackle the about 1 1/16-mile test for the fourth straight year. The Bill Mott trainee finished third in 2007 and was just overhauled by WILDRALLY (Wild Event) here last year. Wildrally will be making his third consecutive appearance in the Turf, having placed second in 2007 before going one better in 2008. To continue his sterling record in this race, he must improve off his uncharacteristic seventh behind Desert Wheat in the Mr. Sulu S., the local prep. Also worth a look are the respective second and third from the Mr. Sulu, NOWANDFOREVERMORE (Sky Classic) and LEE'S SPIRIT (Leestown). The Turf has drawn a field of 10, including Ide Like a Double, who is cross-entered to the Turf and Classic.

The Louisiana Champions Day Sprint S. features a couple of past runners-up -- TORTUGA STRAITS (Gold Tribute), second in 2007, and MR. BARRACUDA (Rubiano), who chased Star Guitar last year. Neither enters the six-furlong scramble in particularly sharp form, opening the door for impressive stakes debutant FLASHY WISE CAT (Catastrophe), who dominated POWER SURGE (Holzmeister) in his allowance prep last time out for Troy Young. Other intriguing types in the 12-horse field are the Tom Amoss-trained MR. PORTER (Road Rush) and CHIEF JAY (Ile St. Louis) off the bench for Sam Breaux.

Sophomores appear to hold a strong hand in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint S., which has attracted 11 distaffers. MASTER LINK (Dance Master), queen of the 2008 Champions Day Lassie S. at this track and trip, has maintained her form well this campaign for Morris Nicks. A badly hampered third to YARE (Time Bandit) in her allowance tune-up, Master Link is eligible to turn the tables with a clean trip. SEVEN SEVENTYTHREE (Littlexpectations), the beaten favorite in last year's Lassie, has improved since joining Asmussen in March and could relish dropping back to six furlongs. CAJUN CONFERENCE (Gold Tribute) romped in an allowance last time out, and if the Eric Guillot pupil can repeat that effort on two weeks' rest, she would rate as a prime contender. Of the older brigade, CARMEL COFFEE (Holy Bull) merits respect off her runner-up effort to Grade 3 veteran Victorina (Delaware Township) in the Harvest S. at Fresno two back.


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