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Heavy On Themister, String King doing well following LCD wins

Heavy On Themister, whose gutsy hard-fought effort throughout the stretch run of Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds resulted in a one-length victory, returned from that effort without incident and was doing well during training hours on Sunday morning, according to his very pleased conditioner Shawn David.

"He's a little tired this morning, but he ran a big race yesterday so that's understandable," David said. "My wife and I stayed in town last night so we could attend a wedding today but I left my Dad with the horse and he's keeping track of him."

David's father, it should be noted, is the accomplished trainer Sam David, who in 1997 conditioned Blushing K. D. to be one of the many fillies to parlay a score in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks to one in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs later in the spring.

"I don't mind saying that he's about the best assistant any trainer ever had," the younger David said of his father. "Believe me -- the horse is in good hands."

What might now be on the agenda for Heavy On Themister?

"I would suppose we'll take a look at that Champions Day (Louisiana Premier Night on February 2) over at Delta (Downs)," David remarked. "We might want to try that again. Beyond that I'm not sure. We'll take things one race at a time. Maybe we might bring him back over here for the Costa Rising (on Louisiana Derby Day, March 30),"

How did David feel as he watched Heavy On Themister's gallant stretch run under winning rider Rosie Napravnik?

"I told Rosie in the paddock before the race that if we could get away with going the half in :50 we'd be in pretty good shape," David said. "She wasn't quite able to get away with that (the half-split was :48 4/5) but she came pretty close. Believe me, when they were coming down the lane yesterday I was 'riding' at least as hard as Rosie was."

Trainer Charlie Smith, who is also the breeder and owner of two-time Louisiana Champions Day Turf winner String King, was about 30 miles outside of Baton Rouge on his way home to Haughton, Louisiana, when reached on his cell phone during training hours Sunday at Fair Grounds. However, he was quick to update the status of his Louisiana-bred grass star.

"I looked in on him before we got on the road," Smith said. "He came back fine. He's a little tired, but he's tight as a drum.

"To tell you the truth, when the horses turned for home yesterday, I didn't think String King could get there. He really wasn't getting over that soft turf very well. He didn't even switch leads until after the sixteenth pol-, but good horses have a way of overcoming adversity.

"Of course, he was also carrying the weight of the grandstand on him," Smith added of his horse who went off as the odds-on choice of the betting public. "I'm very glad we didn't disappoint them."

Did Smith celebrate String King's second straight win in the LCD Turf last night?

"Yeah, I did," Smith admitted, "probably a little too much. I think I had about seven beers. Three or four is usually my limit, but I had my friend with me, and he doesn't drink, so I didn't have to worry about driving home. I knew he was going to do the driving."

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