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Stakes Advance: Pago Hop Stakes


Holt Racing, Robert Orth and Wes Hawley’s Promise Me More, familiar to Fair Grounds fans for her runner-up finish in last February’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes, heads a field of eight sophomore fillies in Friday’s $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes at about one mile over theStall-Wilson turf course at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots.  The race is the second of three stakes races to be run at the New Orleans oval over the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Trained by part owner Wes Hawley, the daughter of More Than Ready is to be ridden byJames Graham, winner of four races on last Saturday’sprogram including the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes and both halves of Saturday’s early Daily Double.

Promise Me More is coming off a nose loss in a $62,500 allowance optional claiming turf test at Belmont Park on Oct. 24.  In her previous start she ran eighth in Parx Racing’s Grade I Cotillion on the main track, but before that was fourth in Saratoga’s$100,000 Riskaverse on the grass.  

Following her second-place behind Repole Stable’s Unlimited Budget in the Rachel Alexandra, Promise Me More finished fourth behind that same rival in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day.

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Always Kitten could prove extremely dangerous in the Pago Hop.  The daughter of top turf sire Kitten’s Joy trained by Mike Maker is coming off a head victory in the $65,000 Ta Wee over a soft turf course at Indiana Downs on Oct. 5.  Previously,Always Kitten had run sixth in the $75,000 Hatoof in Chicago on Arlington Million Day but was only beaten a length for the win.  

To be ridden by nationally prominent jockey David Flores, hanging his tack at Fair Grounds on a regular basis for the first time this season, Always Kitten ran seventh in the Grade III Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs last summer and ninth in Turfway’s Grade III Bourbonette Oaks, but was the victim of troubled trips both times.

Completing the Pago Hop field is Performance Thoroughbred Partners’ Channel Eleven, Jamie Theriot up; Lothenbach Stables’ Eden Prairie, Rosie Napravnik; Coffeepot Stables’ She’s On Parade, Florent Geroux; Joseph F. Novogratz’s Stoupinator, Alex Canchari; The Buttonwood Group’s Red Hot Tweet, Leandro Goncalves; and John Fulton’s Love Blind, Richard Eramia.