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Barn Notes: Thursday, December 26

IN TODAY'S NOTES: Louisiana Futurities to be Toasted New Year's Eve; Pre-Christmas Long Shots Monday Might Have Bought Many Gifts; Fair Grounds' Jockey, Trainer Standings Through Monday

Five days away on New Year’s Eve, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will host the colt and gelding division of 50th anniversary edition of the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity,  and on the same afternoon the 47th running of the $100,000 filly division of that event restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred juveniles will also be contested.

Most seasons, the automatic favorite’s mantle in both divisions falls respectively to the winners of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile and the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, but this year neither of those two champions will be returning for Tuesday’s Futurity renewals.

In their absence on the first and one of only two Tuesday racing programs at Fair Grounds this season, Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Dixie Beat, third in the LCD Juvenile, might go to the post as the favorite the Louisiana Futurity for males.  Other prospective contestants might include Merrill Scherer’s Wordly Dreamer, Bob Gorsky et al.’s Yankee Gambler, Oak Leaf’s Yankee Hunter and Danny Keene’s Yes It’s a Fact.

The Louisiana Futurity’s filly division could be topped by Bleu and Lacie Schniederjan’s Nurse Emmielle, who broke her maiden by 7 ½-lengths at Louisiana Downs Sept. 20 and most recently finished a fast-closing third in state-bred first level allowance company at Fair Grounds Nov. 23.

Others possible for the Louisiana Futurity for fillies are Dianne Hutcherson’s Ben’s Juliette, Keith Plaisance’s La Justice, Terell Jarrett Jr.’s Lady Notional, Merrill Scherer’s Lonely Teardrops and Lee Young Farm Inc.’s Sweet Alice Benbow.

PRE-CHRISTMAS LONG SHOTS LAST MONDAY MIGHT HAVE BOUGHT MANY GIFTS—Fans of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots who might have earlier been cash-strapped from the holiday season could have refilled their coffers last Monday with a plethora of healthy win mutuels posted prior to Christmas Day.

Glockenburg’s Army, trained by Pavel Vashchenko and ridden by Alexander Reznikov, won Monday’s third race to return a $27.80 straight price and P. T. Thoroughbreds’ Portly, trained by Howard Alonzo and ridden by Jansen Melancon paid a fat $38.20 to win the fourth.

Scott Brown’s Platinum Song, conditioned by Danny Pish and piloted by Roman Chapa, captured Monday’s fifth returning $23.40 to win; and W. F. Farish and Lazy F Ranch’s Special Guest, trained by Neil Howard with James Graham in the irons, took down winning honors in the seventh to return $42 as the second highest win price of the afternoon.

However, Monday afternoon’s top win price lit up the board after the eighth when DNS Stable’s Cone of Light, conditioned by Jeff Thornbury with Fair Grounds’ seven-time jockey champion Robby Albarado aboard, paid a gift of $73.20.

FAIR GROUNDS JOCKEY, TRAINER STANDINGS THROUGH             MONDAY—Three-time Fair Grounds leading  jockey and defending rider champion Rosie Napravnik, who took over the lead in the local 2013-2014 standings on Santa Super Saturday, increased that margin on Monday’s program with a riding triple, winning the second half of the Daily Double on Daniel Family Farms’ Afleet in Dixie fortrainer Sweet Hodges, the sixth astride Ron Faucheux and Thomas Arnaud’s Hezalotta Wanda with Faucheux as the tutor, and completed her hat trick in the pre-Christmas finale aboard Royal Colors Racing’s Slew City Lou, trained by Bret Calhoun.

New Jersey-born Napravnik enters Thursday’s Fair Grounds program with 32 wins, four more than Irish-born jockey James Graham as the current runner-up.

Jockey Richard Eramia, a native of Uruguay but now a year-round Louisiana resident, remains in striking distance of the top two riders with 21 trips to the winner’s circle through Monday.

Defending trainer champion and 13-times Fair Grounds title holder Steve Asmussen once again is the leader among the Crescent City conditioners with 13 wins, three wins ahead of a three-trainer tie for second between last season’s co-champion and native New Orleanian Tom Amoss, Ron Faucheux – also Crescent City-born – and Bret Calhoun, who became a New Orleans resident three years ago.