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Game, Set, Match

It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm just sitting down to review the end of this season. It's hard to believe the season is over already, but it's over, game, set, match. The trio of Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan and Heiligbrodt Racing Stable captured the honors in their respective categories. Steve won his ninth leading training title, tying him with Tom Amoss for the all-time lead. Steve won 69 races, 28 more than runner-up Bret Calhoun, who had 41 trips to the winner's circle.

Shaun won his first local riding title with 79 wins, seven more than James Graham, who finished with 72. Shaun closed like a good horse to overtake James, after he set the pace and maintained the lead for most of the meet.

Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt's powerful stable claimed their third Fair Grounds leading owner title by overtaking Southern Equine Racing, LLC to win 22 - 20. The Heiligbrodt's actually captured the title on closing day by surging to the lead during the Sunday finale.

Congratulations to all three category leaders in a job well done.

If any of you read the article in Monday's Times Picayune newspaper, then you already know the 2010 - 2011 meet is going back to the traditional Thanksgiving Day opening. That traditional opening will allow most, if not all, of the Churchill Downs horses and jockeys to be here for opening day. That also means the meet will be a little more compact and we'll run more five-day race weeks next season. I know Jim Mulvihill, who does a great job of keeping everyone up-to-date with Fair Grounds happenings, will have a lot more information on any and all of the changes for the upcoming season as the spring and summer progresses.

I hope you've enjoyed the stories and features that I've written this past season, because I sure have enjoyed writing them. There are some really interesting people around the race track on this circuit and I only wish I could have found the time to have written more of their stories. Writing for this blog has given me the chance to get to know some people that I've been acquainted with, but didn't really know a lot about, in particular, jockey Martin Brown. I have a tremendous amount of new-found respect for him and I wish him the best in his fight against prostate cancer. He is truly one of the "good guys" of Louisiana racing.

As for the jockeys here, I must say they have been a pleasure to work with, for both this blog and helping make the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fundraiser successful. Just to give you an update on the fundraiser, after everything was collected, we raised over $17,000. I was hoping we could raise between $10,000 and $12,000, so to be able to send the MacBeth Fund checks totalling over $17,000 is phenominal. Thanks again to everyone who took part. Next year, our goal will be to break the $20,000 mark.

In closing, I wish everyone that has any part in racing, a very successful spring, summer and fall, and if the Fair Grounds will have me back, I'll be doing this again next year.

GOOD LUCK AND GOOD RACING!

Rick Mocklin