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Inspired, Speedacious Vie in Saturday's Happy Ticket
Peter Blum’s Inspired and Carl Moore’s Speedacious will each be putting win streaks on the line if they match strides in Saturday’s Fair Grounds feature – the 25th renewal of the $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes for older fillies and mares at about 5 1/2-furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
However, with the tumultuous rain storms hitting New Orleans hard enough to cancel Thursday’s Fair Grounds racing program, the Happy Ticket Stakes has a chance of being transferred to the main track.
Inspired, who invaded Fair Grounds from her South Florida home base to capture Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes Jan. 21 and returned to Gulfstream to win the $70,000 Ladies Turf Sprint over that lawn, is less certain than her main rival to go to the post should the Happy Ticket be taken off the grass.
Speedacious, who includes Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint Dec. 10 and Delta’s $100,000 Premier Matron Feb. 4 as part of her current three-race winning skein, has only raced twice on turf in her career and has yet to win over that surface.
Inspired, trained by Allen Iwinski with Shaun Bridgmohan slated for the saddle, has been installed as the tepid 3-1 choice in the morning line, while Speedacious, conditioned by Bret Calhoun with Miguel Mena named in the irons, is pegged as the 7-2 second choice.
Capable of providing strong competition for the top two is Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Wild About Marie, who was runner-up to Inspired in this season’s Pan Zareta but also competed in last year’s Pan Zareta when it was run over the main track. Jeff Thornbury trains Wild About Marie and Robby Albarado is scheduled to ride the daughter of Wildcat Heir, who has been penciled in at 4-1 in the early line.
Completing the Happy Ticket field, with jockeys and respective odds assigned, is Melnyk Racing’s Mullins Beach, Shane Sellers (8-1); Jerry Jamgotchian’s Smartys Emperoress, Rosie Homeister Jr. (12-1); Andrew and Christa Arthur’s Bloemer Girl, Jamie Theriot (15-1); Luxair Properties’ Fast Tip, Corey Lanerie (8-1); Wayne Sanders & Larry Hirsch’s Gran Lioness, Brian Hernandez Jr. (12-1); M&M Thoroughbred Partners’ Lady Chesterfield, James Graham (12-1); and Stone Farm’s Extravaganza, Richard Eramia (10-1).