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Friday Notes: Calhoun Barn Readies for Louisiana Champions Day

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 2012) – Longtime Fair Grounds-based conditioner Bret Calhoun, fourth in the final trainer standings last season at the local oval, got off to an even faster start at this meeting, saddling six winners from his first 11 starters to lead all locally based horsemen in the current session’s initial racing days.

“We’ve been very fortunate in that the races for a lot of our horses have filled so far,” Calhoun said Friday morning during training hours. “Some of those races were split, and that helped us even more.”

However, with Fair Grounds’ 2012 Louisiana Champions Day Dec. 8 now firmly visible on the horizon, Calhoun’s presence vying for the top leader board is not likely to diminish anytime soon.

Prominent among Calhoun’s trainees being readied for that eight-race Thoroughbred series restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds is Carl Moore Management’s Speedacious,defending champion in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint.

“She’s on target for that race,” said Calhoun of the 5-year-old daughter of Yankee Gentleman who finished on the board in open stakes company throughout the summer after winning Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes in her final Fair Grounds start last season. “We’re hoping she’ll be able to win this race coming up once again.

“Su Casa G Casa is being pointed for the ($100,000 LouisianaChampions Day) Sprint,” Calhoun added of the Thomas Galvin-owned 4-year-old who won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile two years ago. “He’s coming back from a long layoff (since finishing ninth in Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Bayou St. John Stakes April 1) but he’s been training well lately.

“We’ve also got a 2-year-old named Hero Force for the ($100,000 Louisiana Champions Day)Juvenile and a 2-year-old filly named Taralicious for the ($100,000 Louisiana Champions Day)Lassie,” said Calhoun.

Hero Force, owned by Robbie Norman, won in open company at Hoosier in his first start last September and Taralicious, owned by JRita Young Thoroughbreds,  finished second Oct. 18 at Remington in open company in the only start of her career.

“Also, we’re thinking about running (Morris Hewitt’s) Beverly Belle in the ($100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies),” concluded Calhoun of next weekend’s state-bred series.

Calhoun, as always, also has a number of open stakes stars in his barn, headed by Gillian Campbell et al.’s Summer Applause, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes last February and runner up in last season’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks in March as well as the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes last January.

“We’ve got her up to five-eighths now,” said Calhoun, who worked Summer Applause in a minute flat at that distance Nov. 29. “I would love to get a race into her here at Fair Grounds fairly soon but we’re targeting that $400,000 Houston Ladies as our next major goal. She hasn’t run since she hurt herself finishing fourth in the (Grade I)Kentucky Oaks last May and we’d love to get to run her here first if we’re going to take her up there.

“As for Gal About Town (Calhoun’s 2-year-old filly owned by Iroquois Racing Club who finished second by a half-length in Churchill’s Grade II Golden Rod Stakes Nov. 24), we’re shooting for (Fair Grounds’) $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (Jan. 19)for her next start,” Calhoun said. “I thought she ran great in the Golden Rod. We were a little disappointed she didn’t win, but she ran great so we’re happy with that.”

GOLDEN ROD HEROINE SEANEEN GIRL DUE AT FG NEXT WEEK – Naveed Chowhan’s Seaneen Girl, winner of Churchill’s Grade II Golden Rod Nov. 24 and a likely candidate for FG’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 19, is still in Kentucky but due to arrive along with trainer Bernie Flint early next week, according to Flint’s assistant trainer in residence Gary Borgemenke on Thursday morning.

SWEET CITIZEN SET FOR SATURDAY’S FILLY FEATURE AT FAIR GROUNDS – Farm D’Allie Racing Stable’s Sweet Citizen,pegged as the 4-1 third choice in the early line for Saturday’s filly feature at Fair Grounds, won the only start of her career at Delta Downs Nov. 9 and should prove worthy of consideration once again.

Trained by David Banks and to be ridden Saturday by Fair Grounds’ defending two-time champion jockey Rosie Napravnik, Sweet Citizen is a 2-year-old daughter of Proud Citizen, also the sire of last season’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade I Kentucky Oaks winner owned by Brereton Jones, as well as Jones’ Proud Spell, who accomplished that same Oaks double in the spring of 2008. Together they are just two of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners who went on to victory in the Kentucky Oaks.