Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, who
went from worst to first to win Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes at a
mile and 40 yards with a dominating stretch rally, looks like a horse that will
like even longer distances, so trainer Tom Amoss was asked Sunday
morning if his colt might be pointed for Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star
Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth Feb. 20.
“That’s a decision I’ll have to talk
about with the owner over the next few days,” said Amoss, “but certainly that
race would seem to be a possible next logical step. We’re very pleased with the
way he ran yesterday. That was a big step up for him and I thought he showed a
lot of promise.”
Should Hammer and Amoss select the Risen
Star, with its new, richer purse this year of $300,000 and its new Grade II
status, the horse will be following in the steps of Friesan Fire, who
parlayed his 2009 Lecomte win to another in the Risen Star and still another in
the Grade II Louisiana Derby which led to his status as the favorite in
last spring’s Kentucky Derby.
Also on Saturday, Friesan Fire showed
signs of returning to his best form by winning the $75,000 Louisiana
Handicap in his second start back after being injured in last spring’s Preakness.
Is Ron the Greek this year’s Friesan
Fire? Certainly if he turned out to be, it would cement the status of Fair
Grounds’ sophomore series as an excellent training ground for Thoroughbred
racing’s Triple Crown.
According to Amoss, Ron the Greek was
named after a friend of the owner’s who died of cancer, but did live to know
that the horse was named after him and was able to visit the horse briefly
before he died.
Amoss, whose nine local training titles
are more than any other conditioner in Fair Grounds history, also updated the
status of his other runners on Saturday’s Road to the Derby
Kickoff Day program.
Pop-A-Top’s Red Hot Buddha,
eighth in the $75,000 Tiffany Lass: “She’ll go back to sprinting.”
Web’s Gem Stable’s Oculuna, fifth
in the $75,000 Dr. Leggio Memorial: “She came out of her race
fine. We’ll look around for another spot for her.”
Hunter Run Stable’s Tempo Five,
fourth in the $75,000 Gaudin Memorial: “I’m tired of chasing those
horses (Cash Refund and Euroears). I don’t want to see them