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Stakes Recap: Thanksgiving Handicap
GANTRY PREACHES SECOND THANKSGIVING 'CAP WIN AT FG
With main rival Delaunay, owned by Maggi Moss, sidelined by fever earlier in the week, Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry recorded his second Thanksgiving Handicap tally in the last three seasons Thursday after finishing second to Delaunay in last year’s 87th renewal of the $100,000 event at Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots.
Backed down to odds-on favoritism by the traditionally festive Crescent City crowd, Gantry took command shortly after the start, recorded early splits of 22.81 and 46.38, out-footed early challenger Mico Margarita in the final furlong and then withstood a late challenge by Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s Central Banker for his neck victory. He covered the six-furlong distance in 1:10.32.
Gantry, trained by Ron Faucheux and ridden patiently by Richard Eramia, returned mutuels of $3.00 and 2.10 in the four-horse field with no show wagering allowed and increased his career earnings to $768,245 with his ninth career win in 21 lifetime starts.
“He really doesn’t want the lead, he just kind of inherited it,” said winning trainer Faucheux. “He really needs a target to run at.”
Winning rider Eramia, registering his third win on the Turkey Day program, implied much the same thing.
“He ran great,” said Eramia. “He’s a very nice horse but he can run better than he did today.”
Central Banker, conditioned by Al Stall, Jr. closed with a bold late rush under Florent Geroux to just miss the winner but was easily second best, finishing 5 ¾ lengths to the good of the tiring Mico Margarita. Central Banker returned $3 in the second spot.
Riceland Racing Stable’s Strong and Tough completed the order of finish.
Racing resumes Friday at Fair Grounds over this extended holiday weekend, and will feature the $75,000 Pago Hop for sophomore fillies at about one mile over the Stall-Wilson turf Course and has a first post of 1 p.m.