Brisnet Handicappers Edge Fair Grounds notes 1/24/10.

Ron the Greek scores in Lecomte

Jack T. Hammer's homebred RON THE GREEK (Full Mandate) bided his time in the rear of Saturday's $100,000 Lecomte S. (G3) at Fair Grounds, came widest of all in the 10-horse field into the stretch and powered home to be 1 1/2 lengths clear of pacesetter Maximus Ruler (Roman Ruler) on the line. Sent off the co-fifth choice at 7-1, the Tom Amoss charge finished up the mile-and-forty yards fast-track feature in 1:40 under jockey James Graham.

"We really thought he had a good chance today," Amoss said. "For the horseplayers that like to examine the horses in the paddock he really does look the part. He's a one-run horse, so let's hope he always has some pace up front.

"The (February 20) Risen Star (G2) would be a tremendously flattering race to win," Amoss added when asked if Ron the Greek would go in that 1 1/16-mile event. "We'll let him tell us but that's certainly what we're thinking."

Maximus Ruler used his rail post to take the lead out of the gate, setting splits of :23 2/5, :46 4/5, 1:12 1/5 and 1:37 3/5 while tracked by Depaul (Dixieland Band) to his outside. All the while, Ron the Greek was racing in the very back of the field. Depaul began backing up, leaving the way clear for Cool Bullet (Red Bullet), who had been running in third, to move up and challenge Maximus Ruler. The long-time leader shrugged off that threat, but suddenly found Ron the Greek motoring down the center of the track.

Maximus Ruler dug deep to hold off his rival, but couldn't stop the rush of Ron the Greek, who paid $17.60, $8.20 and $5.60 for his winning effort. Sent off the 2-1 favorite, Maximus Ruler was worth $4.40 and $3.40 for his game effort, while Letsgetitonmon (Maria's Mon) rallied to take third by 1 1/4 lengths over Cool Bullet, giving back $5 at 18-1. The exacta returned $75.80, the trifecta paid $729.60 and the 11-1-8-9 superfecta totaled $7,143.40.

"I thought it was a great effort," trainer Clark Hanna said of Maximus Ruler. "He got tested every step of the way. He took on all foes except for one. He cooled out well and we'll be looking to come back in a few weeks in the next one (Risen Star)."

Worldly (A.P. Indy) came next and was followed under the line by Turf Melody (Maria's Mon), Citrus Kid (Lemon Drop Kid), Depaul, B'wanagoldmine (Bwana Charlie) and Rock Hard (Menifee). Callide Valley (Indian Charlie) was scratched.

Ron the Greek was making only his fourth career start in this spot and improved his record to 4-3-0-0, $104,400, with the win. He began his career with a pair of neck victories, breaking his maiden at Hoosier Park before taking a Delta Downs allowance last fall. The three-year-old bay made his stakes debut in the Springboard Mile S. at Remington Park on December 13 and wound up fourth, 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Turf Melody.

The Florida-bred is the first stakes scorer out of the winning Flambe' (Fortunate Prospect), who is herself a daughter of the unraced Flambeau (Dixieland Band). Flambe' counts as a full sister the stakes-placed Fortuesque, best known as the dam of last year's Illinois Derby (G2) winner Musket Man (Yonaguska), who ran third in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1). Others of note in the family include English highweight and Group 1 victor Mujahid (Danzig) and 1969 champion two-year-old colt Silent Screen (Prince John).

El Caballo sharp off bench in Colonel Bradley

James C. Spence's EL CABALLO (El Corredor) showed no signs of rustiness returning from a layoff of more than seven months in Saturday's $98,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley H. (G3) at Fair Grounds, turning on the afterburners late to draw clear by 3 1/4 lengths at the end of the about 1 1/16-mile heat contested on the good turf. Under Robby Albarado, the 8-5 favorite rewarded his many backers with mutuels of $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60.

Tend (Dynaformer) set the early fractions of the Bradley, while racing well off the inside, in :24, :49 3/5 and 1:14 3/5. El Caballo settled in fourth at the beginning and then gradually improved position down the backside. Within two heads of the lead turning for home, Albarado guided El Caballo inside of rivals in the straight and responded well to his rider's urgings to stop the clock in 1:46 1/5.

Get Rich Quick (Seeking the Gold), a 9-1 chance, rallied from near the back to grab second by 1 1/4 lengths and gave back $8.40 and $4.20. Vanquisher (Gulch) edged Tybalt (Storm Cat) by a head for the show and returned $4 at 7-1. After Tybalt were Princeville Condo (Morluc), Tend and Swains News (Swain [Ire]). Glamour Guy (E Dubai) was entered for the main track only and was withdrawn. The exacta paid $36.20, the trifecta $171, and the 4-3-7-2 superfecta was worth $989.60.

Conditioned by Ralph Nicks, El Caballo has developed into one of the better turf performers in the Midwest over the past year. After registering an allowance score in his second career start on grass in late 2008, the now six-year-old ran an outstanding second, beaten a nose by Proudinsky (Ger) (Silvano [Ger]), in the Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial H. (G2) last March. Though a dull seventh in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) next out, El Caballo rebounded to pass his fourth allowance condition over the Churchill turf in his 2009 finale. With this initial stakes triumph in the bag, his record now stands at 14-6-5-0, $357,075.

A $225,000 Keeneland September yearling bred by Paragon Farms in Kentucky, El Caballo was produced from the unraced Fine Jewel (Storm Cat), a full sister to stakes winner One Nice Cat and the Grade 3-placed Home Court. All were produced by the 1996 champion older female Jewel Princess (Key to the Mint), who notched wins in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), Vanity Invitational H. (G1), Louisville Breeders' Cup H. (G2), La Canada S. (G2) and El Encino S. (G2) during her championship campaign. A 10-time stakes winner overall, Jewel Princess also registered top level successes in the Santa Margarita Invitational H. (G1) and Santa Maria H. (G1) of 1997.

Other notables from this family are Grade 2 winners My Princess Jess (Stormy Atlantic) and Globalize (Summer Squall), as well as Grade 3 queen Gerrie Singer (L'Enjoleur).

Friesan Fire captures Louisiana H. in four-year-old bow

Vinery Stable & Fox Hill Farm's FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) got back on the winning track Saturday when recording a 1 3/4-length victory in the $75,000 Louisiana H. at Fair Grouns. The bay colt was returning to the site of his exciting scores in last year's Road to the Derby series at the New Orleans venue, and encountered no real threat while making his second start off a near seven-month break.

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan sent Friesan Fire straight to the lead when the gates opened, and the pair set the pace through splits of :24 3/5, :48 2/5 and 1:12 1/5. Secret Getaway (Skip Away) was closely tracking just to the outside, while General Quarters (Sky Mesa) was biding his time in third.

Friesan Fire was still traveling well as he rounded the turn, and General Quarters began his assault, collaring Secret Getaway and ranging up to challenge the near 2-1 favorite. However, he could never quite get to the front runner, who continued to gallop home in a final time of 1:43 1/5 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt.

Friesan Fire paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.30 while beginning the $18.60 exacta for taking his four-year-old debut. General Quarters was best of the rest, 7 1/2 lengths up on third-placer Good and Lucky (Wild Rush), to return $3.80 and $2.30 as the 2-1 third pick. Show gave back $2.40 and ended the $42.40 trifecta as the 2-1 second choice. Secret Getaway faded to fourth, another two lengths back, and completed the $76.20 superfecta (2-1-7-3). Fundy (Northern Afleet) and Coragil Cat (Forest Wildcat) rounded out the order under the wire after Tend (Dynaformer) was scratched.

Friesan Fire broke his maiden at Delaware Park, then proceeded to run third in the Futurity S. (G2), fourth in the Nashua S. (G3) and second in an allowance for trainer Larry Jones. It wasn't until he made his three-year-old bow in the Lecomte S. (G3) that people began taking notice of the colt, though. He continued through Fair Grounds' Road to the Derby series when adding an easy two-length score in the Risen Star S. (G3) to his line, but really gave notice of his talent when sloshing home over a sloppy track to be a 7 1/4-length winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2). In the process, he became only the third horse in local history to sweep the New Orleans oval's big three races for sophomores.

That was Friesan Fire's last win, as he ran 18th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) next out after being bumped, squeezed and grabbing a quarter early on. The bay went on to the Preakness S. (G1) in hopes of a better effort, but he bobbled at the start, flashed brief speed and quickly faded to finish 10th. Friesan Fire was subsequently diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left front leg, as well as a secondary non-displaced chip fracture in his right front fetlock.

Following surgery to repair the chip, and a period of convalescence, he returned to the worktab at Vinery's Kentucky training center in early September. He rounded out his sophomore season in a December 3 allowance/optional claimer at Fair Grounds, running third in his return to Good and Lucky while also making his first start for new trainer Steve Asmussen.

Friesan Fire, a Kentucky native bred by Grapestock LLC, improved his career line to 11-5-1-2 with this win and has now banked $653,765, nearing the $725,000 price at which he RNAed during the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of the Australian Group 1-winning Bollinger (Aus) (Dehere), who has since produced an unraced juvenile filly named Champagne Run (More Than Ready). The 11-year-old Bollinger is herself out of Australian champion Bint Marscay (Aus) (Marscay), who is a half-sister to Filante (Star Way) and Kenny's Best Pal (Bletchingly), both Group 1 winners at around 1 1/4 miles. Friesan Fire is inbred 3 X 4 to the immortal Secretariat.

Jody Slew rallies for 23-1 upset in Tiffany Lass

All eyes were on Quiet Temper (Quiet American) in the $74,250 Tiffany Lass S. at Fair Grounds on Saturday, but JODY SLEW (Slew City Slew) was the one getting her picture taken in the winner's circle once the dust had settled. Owned by Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan, the Bret Calhoun charge put in a rally from next to last to be a half-length clear on the line.

Sheer Beauty (Mizzen Mast) and Elusive Jozi (Johannesburg) pulled their way to the front and embarked on a backstretch battle. Sheer Beauty stuck her head in front through the opening quarter in :23, but Elusive Jozi down to her inside managed to wrest the advantage away through splits of :46 and 1:12. By this point, Sheer Beauty was backing up, and Elusive Jozie found a new challenger in the form of Tidal Pool (Yankee Gentleman) while posting a mile in 1:38 1/5.

All the while, Quiet Temper was settled in third while Jody Slew ran along in seventh. As the field entered the stretch, Jody Slew came widest of all into the lane and Quiet Temper was beginning her move while three off the rail. The 4-5 favorite quickly flattened out, but Jody Slew wasn't losing any of her momentum. Drifting in a bit, she continued to chase down the leaders before stopping the clock in 1:40 4/5 for a mile and 40 yards on the fast dirt.

Sent off the 23-1 longest shot in the eight-filly field, Jody Slew rewarded her faithful but few supporters with payouts of $48.60, $21.80 and $15.60. Bella Medaglia (Medaglia d'Oro), the 7-2 second choice, also came from the back to be four lengths in front of Tidal Pool. She was worth $5 and $4.20, while show gave back $8.60 at 11-1. The exotics returned $239 (exacta) and $1,831 (trifecta), while the 3-4-8-5 superfecta, with 16-1 Elusive Jozi rounding out the top four, totaled a very nice $20,320.

Quiet Temper was beaten a total of eight lengths by the winner when fifth on the wire. Jackpot Joanie (Giant's Causeway), Sheer Beauty and Red Hot Buddha (Buddha) completed the order of finish while Blading Gold Ring (During) and Visavis (Indian Charlie) were withdrawn.

Jody Slew was making her first start here for Calhoun after beginning her career under the tutelage of Larry Lay. The bay lass took three tries to break her maiden, getting the job done at Ellis Park in mid-July, then added an allowance victory to her mark next out at River Downs. She ran third in the Bassinet S. back at that track, but was no match for graded rivals when trying the Pocahontas S. (G3) two months later, winding up 10th in that Churchill Downs event. She stayed in Kentucky to finish third in the Caressing H. under the Twin Spires to complete her juvenile season, and pushed her record to 8-3-0-3, $95,179, with this, her first stakes victory.

Bred in Kentucky by Brandywine Farm, Jody Slew only brought $9,500 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the winning Trustbuster (Housebuster), making her a half-sister to last year's Czaria H. victress Cape of Bradford (Cape Town) as well as an unnamed yearling filly by Kafwain.

Jody Slew's third dam is dual stakes queen Honest and True (Mr. Leader), third in the 1980 editions of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Fantasy S. (G1). Honest and True would go in the breeding shed to produce champion two-year-old filly Epitome (Summing), herself the dam of U.A.E. highweight Faltaat (Mr. Prospector), multiple Grade/Group 2 victor Essence of Dubai (Pulpit) and record-setting stakes hero Danjur (Dayjur), all three of whom are now sires.

Alex Solis Jr.'s ANNIHILATION (Northern Afleet) earned her first stakes score in the $75,000 Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial S. one race later at Fair Grounds. The Dan Hendricks-trained four-year-old ran down longtime leader Lady Chace (Tiznow) in the about 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint and held Coy Cat (Hold That Tiger) and Simplify (Pulpit) to take the win by a length under James Graham. Only a head separated Coy Cat and Simplify, while Lady Chace was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.

Annihilation posted a final time of 1:04 4/5 for the good turf test while making her first trip outside of California. This was only her second stakes try, as she previously ran seventh in the Sandy Blue H. at Del Mar last August, and she entered this one off a runner-up effort against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Hollywood Park two months ago. The four-year-old filly's record shot to 12-4-3-2 while her earnings were bumped up to $180,280.

Bert, Elaine and Richard Klein's CASH REFUND (Petionville) was off a bit slow in the $73,500 F.W. Gaudin Memorial S. but jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. quickly hustled his mount to the front to take command of the six-furlong event. That move paid off big as the Steve Margolis charge was never headed while setting splits of :21 1/5, :44 and :56 1/5 before finishing up in 1:09 2/5 on the fast dirt.

The lightly raced Cash Refund was making just his fifth career start in this spot, and suffered the only loss of his career when second by three parts of a length in last year's Matt Winn S. at Churchill Downs. Returning to the site of his 6 3/4-length maiden victory last February, the four-year-old gelding now boasts a 5-4-1-0 career mark to go along with $150,360 in lifetime earnings.

Out of the multiple Grade 3-winning Swept Away (Mystery Storm), the Kentucky-bred bay is a half-brother to Grade 3-placed Swept Gold (Touch Gold).

Euroears (Langfuhr), the 3-2 defending champion of the Gaudin, brought a two-race win streak into this race but could do no better than sixth in the seven-horse field.

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