Rebecca Farms and T. J. Dickey’s Heavy On Themister, hero of the 2012 $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, returns to the scene of his greatest victory to face 11 rivals in Saturday’s $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes for Louisiana-breds at the Crescent City oval.
Although the local Classic was at nine furlongs on the main track and Saturday’s Costa Rising is scheduled for about 5 ½-furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course, Heavy On Themister cannot be discounted in this weekend’s Fair Grounds feature. The 6-year-old Lion Tamer gelding returned from a five-month layoff to win a 5 ½-furlong dash on the main track that had been originally carded for the lawn on Dec. 7 and is also one for two in his lifetime grass starts.
Capable of providing strong competition for Heavy On Themister in the Costa Rising is Rowell Enterprises’ Heitai, a proven speedster who won Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint by seven lengths in his last start Dec. 14. The homebred by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus also won Fair Grounds $100,000 Louisiana Futurity the same year that Heavy On Themister won the Classic.
Glen Warren and Andrew Leggio Jr.’s Skip the Pinot cannot be overlooked in the Costa Rising. After making the pace in this season’s Louisiana Champions Day Classic the 4-year-old gray homebred held on courageously in the late stages to be beaten only 1 ¼ lengths by Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean and Charles Smith’s String King. Last summer Skip the Pinot won the Louisiana Cup Derby at Louisiana Downs.
Red Oak Stable’s Kissimmee Kyle, although winless in two starts last year on the main track, should merit more serious consideration if Saturday’s sprint stays on the Stall-Wilson. The 7-year-old Gold Tribute gelding has posted four turf triumphs in 17 starts over that surface.
Completing the Costa Rising field is Glen Warren’s Joyce’s Rebel, Bill and Denise Morrison’s No Rules Now, Merrill Scherer and Dan Lynch’s Nubin Ridge, Steve and Pat Roe’s Palmy Bay, Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Southern Dude, H & H Ranch’s Tey’s Big Boy, Dale Ladner’s Unitas, and Set-Hut LLC’s Zip Motion.