Heitai claims win in Costa Rising Stakes _lowres

Photo provided vy Louis Hodges/Hodges Photography -- Heitai with jockey Diego Saenz aboard wins the 4th Running of the Costa RIsing Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans, LA Saturday January 11, 2014. The 4-year-old gelding is owned by Rowell Enterprises, Inc and trained by Karl Broberg.

A switch from turf to the dirt proved to Heitai’s liking at the Fair Grounds Saturday.

The Karl Broberg-trained trained son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus used the same tactics that gained him the victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint last month with a 2¾ length victory in the fourth running of Costa Rising Stakes.

The race was scheduled to be run on the turf course, but was moved because of unfavorable conditions.

Heitai, a Louisiana-bred 4-year-old gelding owned by Frank and Barbara Rowell, paid $6.60, $3.80 and $3.40 in gaining his fifth victory in 15 lifetime starts and increased his career earnings to $274.943.

“This is a nice horse,” jockey Diego Saenz said. “He made the lead pretty easy. The No. 4 horse (favored Southern Dude) had a little speed, too. But my horse — he did it all on his own.”

Heitai set the pace under pressure just after the start, making early fractions of 22.16 and 44.89, then shook off his competitors in the upper stretch, finishing the five-and-one-half furlong race in 1:03.2.

Glen Warren and Andy Leggio’s Skip the Pinot railed to gain the place spot, paying $4.40 and $3 while finishing 1¾-lengths ahead of Nubin Ridge, who paid $5.20 to show.

Completing the order of finish was Southern Dude, Heavy On Themister, Unitas and Palmy Bay.