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Friday Notes: Infrattini to Risk Win Streak in Jan. 19 Louisiana 'Cap

By Graham Ross, Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 11, 2013) – Z Thoroughbreds’ Infrattini, a winner of his last three starts by a total of almost 15 lengths, is expected to answer another challenge as the starting high weight in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Handicap Jan. 19 during the local oval’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone.

The Louisiana Handicap, first leg of Fair Grounds’ three-race series for older horses on the main track, concludes with theGrade II New Orleans Handicap onLouisiana Derby Day, March 30.

“He’s been doing really good lately,” said trainer Paul McGee Friday morning during training hours when speaking of Infrattini, who tallied by 7 1/4-lengths in his last start on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs. “I’ll probably breeze him one more time this Sunday and then we should be ready to go.”

Infrattini, a 5-year-old altered son of Include who has been assigned 121 pounds in the Louisiana Handicap, breezed five furlongs last Saturday in 1:00.60.

Next in the assigned weights at 119 pounds among those expected to start in the Louisiana Handicap is Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski, who will be making his first start since winning Belmont’s Grade II Peter Pan last May 12. That 4-year-old Proud Citizen colt, runner-up in last spring’s Grade II Louisiana Derby as well as the Grade II Risen Star Stakes,breezed a bullet half-mile in 59.80 over sloppy going last Sunday at Fair Grounds despite being impeded and forced to alter course as a result of a training incident involving another horse.

Next in the weights among those expected to start in the Louisiana Handicap are E-Racing.Com and Kevin Jacobsen’s Eldaafer and Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike – both with assigned weights of 118 pounds.

Eldaafar, an invader from Gulfstream Park, has not started since finishing unplaced in the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita Nov. 2 but before that was third, beaten less than two lengths, in the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup last Oct. 6.

Hurricane Ike, winner of Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Tenacious Handicap Dec. 15, also won Hoosier’s $100,000 Michael Schaefer Memorial Mile last Oct. 6.

Others expected for the Louisiana Handicap, with their corresponding weights, are Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Brethren (116), Gary and Mary West’s Self Control (116) and Raut LLC’s Macho Bull (112).

STRIKE IMPACT SET FOR GRADE III COL. E.R. BRADLEY HANDICAP JAN. 19 – Chester Miller and Pat Dupuy’s Strike Impact, hero of Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap on Dec. 22, may end up as the starting high weight despite being assigned 117 pounds in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap Jan. 19 at about 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course although Brushwood Stable’s Philly Ace with 119 pounds remains a possibility at this time.

The latter, stabled at South Florida’s Payson Park, won Calder’s Grade III Tropical Turf Handicap at last asking Nov. 30 and is under the tutelage of the sometimes inscrutable but always talented turf trainer Christophe Clement.

The Colonel Bradley, one of five stakes slated for Fair Grounds’ Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone, also serves as the first leg of the local oval’s three-race grass stakes series for older horses that concludes with the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap on LouisianaDerby Day, March 30.

Others expected for the Colonel Bradley, with their respective weights assigned, are  Chuck and Ella Lou Hagaman’s Bim Bam (115), David Holloway Racing’s Dubious Miss (115), Charles Craig Smith’s String King (115), Adele Dilscheider’s Unlatch (115) and Amerman Racing Stables’ Tetradrachm (114).

String King has won the last two renewals of Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf and Unlatch won the $75,000 Woodchopper earlier this season.

REMINDER: SPECIAL 2 P.M. POST TIME SET FOR JAN. 12 – Fair Grounds  guests and fans of the local oval’s simulcast signal are reminded that there will be a special post time of 2 p.m. for Saturday’s 13-race program that will also include a fun-filled evening of entertainment with zebra and ostrich exhibition races.