01-07-2009, 01:10 PM
NEW ORLEANS - Having just broken his own record for wins in a season during 2008, trainer Steve Asmussen has hit the slow-mo button to start 2009. This is evidenced by the fact that Asmussen entered horses in only 10 of the 11 races Saturday at Fair Grounds. Say what, Steve? Nothing for the $5,000 nonwinners-of-two Louisiana-bred claimer to begin the afternoon?And it's not just any old Saturday, either: The moniker "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day" will not be winning any national marketing awards, but the phrase gets the job done. The local "Derby" is the Louisiana Derby on March 14, and before stopping off at the Risen Star Stakes next month, that road begins Saturday in the Lecomte Stakes. No staggering talent graces the Grade 3, one-mile Lecomte, but it's an interesting enough field that, of course, includes an Asmussen-trained horse, Uno Mas.