Gal About Town, Seaneen Girl Renew Rivalry in Saturday's Silverbulletday
By Graham Ross, Staff Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, January 17, 2013) – Iroquois Racing Club’s Gal About Town and Naveed Chowhan’s Seaneen Girl, who finished a half-length apart in the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov. 24, meet again in Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots during the Crescent City oval’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone.
First post for Saturday’s expanded 13-race Road to the Derby Day program, headed by the Grade III Lecomte Stakes as a prepfor the$1 million Louisiana Derby March 30, is 12:30 p.m.
The Silverbulletday, contested at a mile and 70 yards, is the first leg of New Orleans’ three race series for sophomore fillies that will conclude with the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day.
Last season’s Silverbulletday heroine – Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can – went on to win the Fair Grounds Oaks as well as Churchill Downs’ Grade I Kentucky Oaks on the day before the Kentucky Derby at the Louisville oval.
Although Seaneen Girl was the winner and Gal About Town finished second when they last raced in the Golden Rod, it is Gal About Town who has been tabbed as the morning line choice in the Silverbulletday at 3-1, while Seaneen Girl is the early second choice at 5-1 in Saturday’s Silverbulletday line.
Gal About Town, trained by Bret Calhoun,will have regular rider Jesus Castanon journeying to New Orleans for the mount. Seaneen Girl, conditioned byBernie Flint, will have Miguel Mena in the irons once again.
Capable of providing strong competition for the top two is Coteau Grove Farms’ Touch Magic,a daughter of Lion Heart who won her first two career starts at Calder Race Course and then finished second in Calder’s $100,000 Cassidy Stakes and then the Grade III Delta Princess Stakes at Delta Downs after that. Jockey James Graham is named in the irons.
Completing the Silverbulletday field, with respective jockeys assigned, is Gillian Campbell et al.’s Ciao Bella Luna,Jamie Theriot (8-1); Daniel Kenny’s Finding More, John Jacinto (8-1); Donarra Thoroughbreds’ Irish Lute, Brian Hernandez Jr. (8-1); Fox Hill Farms’ Smitten,Rosie Napravnik (8-1); Jerry Namy’s Flashy Campaign, Leandro Goncalves (10-1); Stoneway Farm’s Estonia, Shaun Bridgmohan (12-1); Travis Morgeson V’s Brotherhood Singer, Jon Court (12-1); and Raut LLC’s Afrodita, Iram Diego (30-1).
LAST YEAR’S LOUISIANA DERBY RUNNER-UP MARK VALESKI RETURNS IN LOUISIANA HANDICAP – Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski, who finished second in last year’s Grade II Louisiana Derby as well as last year’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes, returns to action in Saturday’s 67th running of the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16-miles.
The Louisiana Handicap, along with Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes for 3-year-olds and Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, completes Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots’ three-stakes race troika for this weekend’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone.
Mark Valeski, who has been away from competition since winning last spring’s Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park May 12, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Louisiana Handicap, first leg of Fair Grounds’ three-race series for older horses that concludes with the Grade II New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day, March 30.
Fair Grounds’ two-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik is named in the saddle on Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones, who is assigned 119 pounds in the Louisiana ’Cap.
Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike is the 7-2 second choice in the Louisiana ’Cap morning line after winning the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap here Dec. 15 and gets in with 118 pounds, most of which will be made up by jockey James Graham.
Completing the Louisiana Handicap field, with respective jockeys, weights and odds assigned, is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Brethren, Shaun Bridgmohan, 116 (4-1); Z Thoroughbreds’ Infrattini, Miguel Mena, 121 (5-1); Gary and Mary West’s Self Control,Brian Hernandez Jr.,116 (6-1); Keith Plaisance’s Wash Park, Richard Eramia, 115 (8-1); Bluegrass Hall’s Raison d’Etat, Jon Court, 113 (12-1); and Raut LLC;s Macho Bull, Iram Diego, 112 (20-1).