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Sunday Notes: Heavy On Themister, String King Doing Well After LCD Wins

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, December 9, 2012) – Rebecca Farms and T. J. Dickey’s Heavy On Themister, whose gutsy hard-fought effort throughout the stretch run of Saturday’s $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots resulted in a one-length victory, returned from that effort without incident and was doing well during training hours on Sunday morning, according to his very pleased conditioner Shawn David.

“He’s a little tired this morning, but he ran a big race yesterday so that’s understandable,” said David. “My wife and I stayed in town last night so we could attend a wedding today but I left my Dad with the horse and he’s keeping track of him.”

Shawn’s father, it should be noted, is the accomplished trainer Sam David, who in 1997 conditioned James and Sue Burns’ Blushing K. D. to be one of the many fillies to parlay a score in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks to one in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs later in the spring.

“I don’t mind saying that he’s about the best assistant any trainer ever had,” the younger David said of his father. “Believe me – the horse is in good hands.”

What might now be on the agenda for Heavy On Themister?

“I would suppose we’ll take a look at that Champions Day (Louisiana Premier Night Feb. 2) over at Delta,” said David. “We might want to try that again. Beyond that I’m not sure. We’ll take things one race at a time. Maybe we might bring him back over here for the ($60,000) Costa Rising (on LouisianaDerby Day March 30),”

How did David feel as he watched Heavy On Themister’s gallant stretch run under winning rider Rosie Napravnik?

“I told Rosie in the paddock before the race that if we could get away with going the half in 50 we’d be in pretty good shape,” David said. “She wasn’t quite able to get away with that (the half split was 48.88) but she came pretty close. Believe me, when they were coming down the lane yesterday I was ‘riding’ at least as hard as Rosie was.”  

STRING KING, OWNER-TRAINER-BREEDER ALSO IN FINE FETTLE – Trainer Charlie Smith, who is also the breeder and owner of two-time $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf winner String King, was about 30 miles outside of Baton Rouge on his way home to Haughton when reached on his cell phone during training hours Sunday at Fair Grounds. However, he was quick to update the status of his Louisiana-bred grass star.

“I looked in on him before we got on the road,” said Smith. “He came back fine. He’s a little tired, but he’s tight as a drum. To tell you the truth, when the horses turned for home yesterday, I didn’t think String King could get there. He really wasn’t getting over that soft turf very well. He didn’t even switch leads until after the sixteenth pole, but good horses have a way of overcoming adversity.

“Of course, he was also carrying the weight of the grandstand on him,” Smith added of his horse that went off as the odds-on choice of the betting public. “I’m very glad we didn’t disappoint them.”

Did Smith celebrate String King’s second straight win in the LCD Turf last night?

“Yeah, I did,” said Smith, “probably a little too much. I think I had about seven beers. Three or four is usually my limit, but I had my friend with me, and he doesn’t drink, so I didn’t have to worry about driving home. I knew he was going to do the driving.”

OTTO THORWARTH SET TO TESTIFY ABOUT ‘SECRETARIAT’ – Former jockey and current actor and motivational speaker Otto Thorwarth,who played the role of rider Ron Turcotte in the Disney film Secretariat, will be at Fair Grounds Wednesday, according to Fair Grounds chaplain Waverly Parsons.

The film will be shown at 6 p.m. on the second floor the grandstand (west end of the building) and Thorwarth will then share his testimony with the backstretch community and all others who want to attend. Popcorn will be served.

REMINDER:  POST TIME CHANGES TO 1 P.M. AT FAIR GROUNDS THURSDAY – Guests of Fair Grounds and fans of Fair Grounds’ simulcast signal around the nation are reminded that as of Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, post time for the first race of the day will be 1 p.m.

On the first two graded stakes days this season when post time was originally scheduled for 12:10 p.m. – Jan. 19 and Feb. 23 – it will now be 12:30 p.m.

Starlight Racing Programs with their 5 p.m. post time and Louisiana Derby Day with its 2 p.m. first post will not be affected.