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Thu. Notes: Populist Politics Pointing to LCD Classic

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012) – Klaravich Stables’ Populist Politics,probably best known as the hard-knocking runner-up to Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar on numerous occasions, is the early favorite to headline next weekend’s $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic when Fair Grounds hosts the 21st renewal of its series of 11 races restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds on Dec. 8.

The now-retired Star Guitar, of course, became the top Louisiana-bred money winner of all time last April 1 with a win in the $90,000 Costa Rising Stakes on Louisiana Derby Day. Populist Politics finished second behind him once again that day, beaten a head for the victory.

“Hopefully, next weekend, Populist Politics will get the opportunity to show he’s the heir apparent,” said trainer Tom Amoss Thursday morning during training hours. “He’s doing well now. He’s gotten much better since he developed that little breathing issue last summer when we had to ease him in that race (the $200,000 West Virginia Governors Cup) at Mountaineer. He never really had great airways before, but hopefully we’ve gotten that resolved now. He had a good work last Sunday (a half-mile in 48 flat) and he ran a good race at Delta in his last start (Oct. 27). He finished second that day, but Delta is a real small track with tight turns. The track here at Fair Grounds has big, wide turns and he likes that a lot better. James Graham will ride him in the Classic.”

Amoss, a native New Orleanian who is a nine-time trainer champion at Fair Grounds, has gotten off to a fantastic start this season, winning with five of his seven starters for a 71 percent win ratio over the four-day opening weekend program. One of those wins was recorded by Jerry Namy’s Flashy Campaign last Sunday, a 2-year-old filly who made the first start of her career a winning one.

“We’re very optimistic about her,” said Amoss, “and we were very encouraged by that race, especially since it appeared she might be even better going a distance of ground.”

However, obviously Amoss’s most satisfying win this season came in the 87th running of the $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap with Maggi Moss’s Delaunay on Thanksgiving.

Somewhat surprisingly, given Amoss’s long history of success at Fair Grounds, he had never saddled the winner of its traditional Opening Day centerpiece before.

“I’ve been coming to Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving Day since I was a little kid,” said Amoss. “My earliest memories of Thanksgiving involve coming out here to the old clubhouse to celebrate the day with my family. I would always order either the corned beef or the lamb chops for dinner.”

“I used to think I was a real good handicapper,” said Amoss, “but in reality I actually used to talk a lot of people off horses that ended up winning. One time I remember talking my father off a horse that ended up paying $70. After that I learned to keep my mouth shut.”

ALICE STEVENSON MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD THURSDAY AT FAIR GROUNDS – A memorial service for longtime Fair Grounds gardener Alice Stevenson was held Thursday morning at Fair Grounds, where a small garden of flowers was planted on the edge of the apron next to horse path in her honor.

Fair Grounds president Tim Bryant, stall superintendent Mario Torres, maintenance supervisor Buck Franklin and David Ballof operations and valet services and also the brother of “Miss Alice” planted the garden. The concept of a memorial garden had been originally suggested by mutuels assistant Brian Kohnas a way to honor Fair Grounds’ “First Lady of Flowers,” who died shortly before the season began.

“Always be joyful,” was the scripture quoted by Fair Grounds chaplain Waverly Parsons at the memorial service. “I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor Miss Alice’s memory than to say how well that scripture fits the kind of person she always was.”

TIPTHETROLLEYGIRLONTRACK FOR SATURDAY’S FILLY FEATURE AT FAIR GROUNDS – Double Dip Stables’ Tipthetrolleygirl, who won her last start on Nov. 18 at Churchill Downs by six lengths, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s filly feature at Fair Grounds.