Team Block's always-tough Fort Prado ran closer to the pacesetter Onthedeanslist this time around and registered a neck victory over his rival in the $189,800 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Harrah's Louisiana Downs turf Saturday.
Last time the two met, jockey Robby Albarado let the 5-year-old gray El Prado
horse fall too far back and came up second, three-quarters of a length behind Onthedeanslist in the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap over the course.
Saturday, Fort Prado settled along the hedge in mid-pack for Albarado, eased out nearing the stretch, and prevailed after a long drive in a time of 1:43 for the 1 1/16-mile event on good going.
"Last time, I left him a little more work to do and (Onthedeanslist) got a little bit of an uncontested lead up there," said Albarado, who won five races on Saturday's card. "Today, Sampson's Son pressed him a little bit, enough to soften him. I had a great trip and got through on the turn for home."
"This horse relishes a little more give in the ground," said winning trainer Jeff Trosclair, "and that made a little more difference today."
Onthedeanslist, Corey Lanerie aboard, held on for second by a half-length over the fast-closing Waupaca (Elvis Perrodin).
G P Fleet flattened out in the stretch and finished fourth, a head in front of 13-10 favorite Chinese Dragon, who also hung in the stretch for jockey Kent Desormeaux.
"I put myself in a clear position too early," said Desormeaux. "He hasn't been in that position before, so that's the only thing I can change."
The Chilean Gallo Del Bar finished sixth, followed by Sampson's son and Ole Faunty.
Onthedeanslist set a soft pace of :24 1/5, :48 2/5 and 1:13 while maintaning an easy lead into the far turn.
Trained by Jeff Trosclair, Fort Prado, the 7-2 second choice in the field of eight, paid $9.20, $4.20, and $4.40. Onthedeanslist returned $7.40 and $5.20 while completing a $60 exacta. Waupaca, running last all the way to the eighth pole, closed on the far outside to pay $6.80 to show.
Fort Prado, who won five of nine starts in 2005, earned $101,880 while improving his lifetime mark to 9-4-1 in 22 starts. He has won $478,100 in his career.
Also on Saturday's card, which marked the start of "Louisiana Lagniappe Weekend," trainer Pat Mouton won a pair of Louisiana-bred stakes, capturing the Lagniappe Ladies with The Beter Man Can and the Crescent City Derby with Nob Hill Deelite, and favorite, All Wired Up, captured the Lagniappe Sprint.