Fat Tuesday Notes: Travers Winner Golden Ticket to Feb. 23 Mineshaft 'Cap

 

By Graham Ross, Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 12, 2013) – Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket,one-half of the duo who dead-heated for the win in Saratoga’s Grade I Travers last summer, will be coming to New Orleans to make his next start in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Mineshaft Handicap Feb. 23 as part of the upcoming multi-graded stakes program billed as Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.

“Even with the dead-heat, it was thrilling to win a race as big as that one,” said trainer Ken McPeek Tuesday morning when asked to recall Golden Ticket’s Travers tally. “The horse ran great, and (jockey) David Cohen gave him a fantastic ride that day.

“Also, it meant a lot to make some new Saratoga history at the most historic race course in this country,” McPeek said of the first declared dead-heat for the win in 143 runnings of the Travers, although in 1874, long before the invention of the photo finish camera, there was an adjudged dead-heat after which the winner was decided following a runoff.

Interestingly, Golden Ticket’s win in the Travers was only the second of his career. After breaking his maiden in March, Golden Ticket had finished second in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby March 10. However, in his lone trip to the post in 2013, Golden Ticket won an allowance and $62,500 optional claiming event at Gulfstream Jan. 26 by 5 1/2-lengths

“He ran super in that last race,” said McPeek. “He’s acted as a solid horse ever since I got him,  but I’ve always thought he was a  horse that is going to get better as he got older.

“Magic City Thoroughbred Partners is a partnership between a couple of guys from Billings, Montana, named Ken Schenker and Carter Stewart,” McPeek said. “Golden Ticket is the first horse they ever owned, but now they also have Frac Daddy.

“(Golden Ticket) will arrive at Fair Grounds on Feb. 21,” McPeek said. “James Graham will ride him in the Mineshaft.”

TODD PLETCHER TRAINEE PALACE MALICE RISEN STAR-BOUND – Five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who won Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes last season with Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino, will try to make it two straight by sending Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice to New Orleans for this year’s $400,000 Risen Star as the centerpiece event of four graded stakes that will make up Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford Feb. 23 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The Risen Star Stakes is the designed local tune-up for the upcoming 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.

Palace Malice is a sophomore son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin,and the colt broke his maiden at Saratoga last summer but bucked his shins after that score and made his first start of 2013 in an allowance and $75,000 optional claiming race at Gulfstream Jan. 19, where he finished second.

“We can get (two-time defending jockey champion) Rosie Napravnik (to ride our horse in the Risen Star) in New Orleans,” stated Dogwood president (and New Orleans-born) Cot Campbell in a Dogwood press release. “Our horse is an easy shipper and he’s been training sharply for Todd Pletcher since his good 2013 debut.”

Pletcher also won the 2010 Risen Star with E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Discreetly Mine.

RACHEL ALEXANDRA-BOUND GARY STEVENS WINS STAKES SATURDAY, SUNDAY – Newly-unretired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who will be coming to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots to ride Stoneway Farm’s Midnight Ballet in the Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes as part of Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford Feb. 23, was the hot jock on the West Coast last weekend.

The Rachel Alexandra Stakes is Fair Grounds’ designed tune-up for the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks,to be contested on Louisiana Derby Day March 30.

Stevens rode Corey Johnsen et al.’s Purim’s Dancer to victory in Santa Anita’s $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes Sunday one day after riding Phil Cunningham’s Slim Shadey to win the Grade II San Marcos Stakes.

Purim’s Dancer is trained by Tom Proctor, as is Midnight Ballet.

“It feels tremendous,” Stevens said after the Wishing Well, “because of guys like Tom Proctor here and everyone who has supported me through the years and giving me a shot once again…but it is good horses that put you in the winner’s circle.”