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Unlatch Unleashed in Friday's Woodchopper

NEW ORLEANS(Friday, Nov. 23, 2012) – Adele Dilschneider’s Unlatch, allowed to settle early, rallied boldly when set down for the drive and then withstood two late challenges to capture Friday’s $75,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots by a neck.

Ridden by Jamie Theriot, who was scoring his third win of the afternoon, Unlatch paid $8.40, $5 and $4.60 and increased his career earnings to $118,400 with his third win in four starts. The Al Stall Jr. trainee toured the about one-mile distance over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:37.56.

“I got a spot for him, held him together around the turn and when I asked him to run he gave me a good run and then we were able to hold them off late,” said the winning rider, who was Fair Grounds’ jockey champion at the local 2007-2008 race meet.

Sam-Son Farms’ Aldous Snow, also unhurried early, rallied to gain the place, finishing a half-length to the good of Fletcher and Carolyn Gray’s Icon Ike. 

Aldous Snow paid $5 and $4.60 and Icon Ike paid $6 in the show spot, while last spring’s Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Hero of Order made the early pace and tired to 10th at the wire.

Woodchopper Stakes Quotes

Jockey Jamie Theriot (Unlatch, winner):“There was some pace in the race and I got a good stalking position and just held him together around the turn and when I asked him to run he was full of run.

“They were coming. First time he cleared horses I got down in the lane and kind of waiting and I thought I may have moved early because of the quick turn of foot he has but he held on.

Trainer Al Stall Jr. (Unlatch, winner):“That’s the beauty of the Fair Grounds -- you get these straight 3-year-old races late in the year, end of November towards December. It was a no brainer to pick this spot. He was a horse that we had some problems with early in his career, mentally more than anything else. Where he is now from where he was about four or five months ago is absolutely amazing. He couldn’t even get around the racetrack so that tells me that he has got a lot of potential. 

“We will just ride this out and do the stakes here now on the grass. The Bradley, I guess it is, obviously the Muniz, we will try to run in that. We will just see how that goes.”