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Sunday Notes: Lee's Spirit to Enter LCD Classic and Turf

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, December 2, 2012) – Trainer Eddie Johnston, who claimed the Louisiana-bred gelding Lee’s Spirit last fall on behalf of a partnership that included himself along with Scott Boudreaux and Donald Gaudet, saddled the 7-year-old son of Leestown to win the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs one month later on Oct. 27.

“That was a big deal for them,” Johnston said Sunday morning just after training hours when speaking of his new partners and their new acquisition that went off at better than 14-1. “It was their first win in a ‘hundred-grander’ and they got real excited about the whole thing.

“Actually, the horse got a perfect trip in that race,” Johnston said. “He’d been training real well going into it and everything seemed to go our way throughout the running. He may not have such an easy time of it this weekend. He’ll be running against a lot of good horses wherever he goes, and at a longer distance than the mile race he had last time.”

Johnstonhas nominated Lee’s Spirit to both the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic and the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf when Fair Grounds hosts its 22nd Louisiana Champions Day this Saturday, and when entries are drawn Johnston will still not have made up his mind about in which race the horse will run.

“I’m going to enter in both races,” Johnston said. “Then I’m going to take a look at how the weather comes up and see what post positions I get in both races, what horses go in both races and what posts they get before I decide. I nominated him in both races, so I might as well enter in both. It’s only going to cost me a few hundred dollars more and I think it will be worth it to keep my options open as late as I can.

“As far as I can tell, the horse seems to run equally well on both surfaces,” Johnston said. “I think he’s won six times on dirt and five times on turf, so I don’t think turf or dirt makes much of a difference to him. He can handle either one of them.

“I worked the horse Thursday and he went very well,” said Johnston of Lee’s Spirit, whose half-mile move was clocked in 49.60. “He’s been a real happy horse lately. He has really been enjoying himself.”

Johnstonis also planning to run Ladyzarbridge,a 5-year-old mare he owns in partnership with Charles Zacney, in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies, where she will be defending her championship in that same race last year.

“She just loves the track at Fair Grounds,” Johnston said of Ladyzarbridge, who also boasts a 7 3/4-length tally in the local oval’s $60,000 Sarah Lane’s Oates in 2010. “I worked her yesterday (Saturday, four furlongs in 50 flat) and she’s been training very well.” 

STALL TO SADDLE ‘KISSIMMEE’, ‘SISTER’ ON LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY – Trainer Al Stall Jr. nominated eight horses to the series of eight Thoroughbred races that make up the Louisiana Champions Day program this coming Saturday but only two of them are going to run.

“The only ones I will have running will be (Red Oak Stable’s) Kissimmee Kyle and (Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s) SisterCity,” Stall said during training hours Sunday.

Kissimmee Kyle, slated for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, won Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Bayou St. John Stakes on Louisiana Derby Day last season and finished fourth in the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes during Fair Grounds’ opening day on Thanksgiving Day this year.

SisterCity, set for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, broke her maiden two starts back at Louisiana Downs and made it two straight wins with a 5 1/4-length win in first-level allowance company at Fair Grounds Nov. 23.