Home of the Louisiana Derby

Stakes Advance: Louisiana Champions Day



Brittlyn Stable’sSunbean, a contestant in last spring’s Grade II Louisiana Derby and other graded stakes, returns to Louisiana-bred company and will be well-regarded when he faces seven or possibly eight older rivals in Saturday’s $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.  The Classic serves as the main event of the New Orleans oval’s annual eight-stakes race series for Thoroughbreds that is restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds.

One particularly interesting challenge to Sunbean in Saturday’s Classic is expected to come from Charles Craig Smith’s String King, hero of the last two renewals of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf and winner of the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes over the Stall-Wilson turf course in his last start Nov. 23.  Trainer Charlie Smith, also breeder and owner of the 5-year-old grass star, cross-nominated String King to this year’s Classic and Turf but has elected to try the main track Saturday in favor of the Classic’s larger purse.

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Populist Politics, who disappointed as the choice in last year’s Classic, is set to try Saturday’s headliner again after his victory in Evangeline’s $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic last summer.  Most recently he finished third, beaten 3 ½-lengths by Sunbean in Delta’s $100,000 Gold Cup on Nov. 2.

Completing Saturday’s Champions Day Classic field is Glen Warren and Andrew Leggio Jr.’s Skip the Pinot; Roustabout Racing Stables’ Arkansas Martini; Maggi Moss’s One King’s Man; Scott Boudreaux, Donald Gaudet and Eddie Johnston’s Lee’s Spirit; Robert Orth and Wesley Hawley’s Get in Da  House and possibly Glen  Warren’s Hud’s Rebellion, cross-entered in both the Classic and the Turf.

HUD’S REBELLION LIKELY CHOICE IN $100,000 LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY TURF—Glen Warren’s Hud’s Rebellion can be expected to draw strong support in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, assuming – as expected – he goes to the post in the Turf rather than face Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean and Charles Craig Smith’s String King in the Classic.  In his last start Aug. 17, hefinished second to String King in the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic but would not face that rival again going over the Stall-Wilson turf course this weekend.

Like String King, Hud’s Rebellion was cross-nominated to both Saturday’s Champions Day Turf as well as the Classic by trainer Andy Leggio Jr.  Hud’s Rebellion finished second by a half-length to Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s Populist Politics in Evangeline’s $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic on the main track in his previous outing, but that rival is also named to the Classic Saturday.

Facing Hud’s Rebellion in the Champions Day Turf would be Blanchard Iles’ Plano Zip, My Three Sons Stable’s Sweet Baby Gaines, Henry Benoit’s Sadie’s Soldier, Merrill Scherer and Dan Lynch’s Request a Puck, and Gessler Racing’s Old Pal of Mine.

The other six Thoroughbred stakes slated for the state-bred restricted Louisiana Champions Day are the $100,000 LCD Juvenile for 2-year-olds, $100,000 LCD Lassie for 2-year-old fillies, $100,000 LCD Ladies for older fillies and mares, $100,000 Ladies Sprint for sprinters in that same division, $100,000 LCD Sprint open to all Louisiana-bred speedsters, and the $50,000 LCD Handicap Stakes, a starter stakesfor state-breds 3-years-old and up

Most prominent among the entrants in these six races Saturday are Charles Zacney and Eddie Johnston’s Ladyzarbridge, who will be attempting to defend her championship from last year’s LCD Ladies, and Dale Ladner’s Sittin At the Bar, heroine of last year’s LCD Lassie but a contestant in this year’s LCD Ladies Sprint.

Three $100,000 stakes for accredited Louisiana-bred American Quarter Horses open Saturday’s expanded 13-race program.

SPECIAL 12:30 POST TIME SET FOR LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY SATURDAY—Due to the expanded 13-race program for Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots a special early post-time of 12:30 p.m. will be in effect.  Gates will open at 10:30 a.m.

AQHA RACING ACES COORDINATOR MARTHA CLAUSSEN TO HOST FAN ED AREA – Martha Claussen, a Quarter Horse racing expert will be on hand on Louisiana Champions Day to provide handicapping help to fans near the paddock throughout the races. Claussen will also join Fair Grounds’ Racing Analyst Brian W. Spencer in the paddock to preview the three Quarter Horse stakes that open Saturday’s card. In addition to helping fans handicap the races, Claussen will be issuing $2 vouchers to the first 100 fans who partake in the fan education experience courtesy of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders’ Association.