Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Saturday, December 28

IN TODAY'S NOTES: Richard Eramia Rides Friday Fair Grounds Triple; David Flores Wins Santa Anita's Malibu Before Leaving for Singapore; Army, Sgt. Major Ross Lead Russians' March into FG's Winner's Circle

Surely one of the most underrated riders at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is Richard Eramia, the native of Uruguay who scored his first riding triple of the current Crescent City season on Friday – all for owner-trainer Louie Roussel III.

Eramia, who has been the leading rider at Louisiana Downs for the last three years, finished fourth in the Fair Grounds standings last season and through Friday’s program was a solid third in the current Fair Grounds standings, 10 wins behind three-time defending Fair Grounds jockey champion Rosie Napravnik, five wins behind runner-up James Graham but 12 wins ahead of David Flores who remains in fourth place but has left New Orleans to ride in Singapore for the next six months.

“This has been a very good year for me,” said Eramia Saturday morning during training hours.  “In fact, it is my best year ever since I came to the Fair Grounds four years ago.”

Eramia also won the richest race so far in the current Fair Grounds meeting when he won the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic by a nose aboard Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean in what was perhaps the most exciting stretch run of the current Fair Grounds season.

Did he know he’d won it when he hit the wire after trading head-bobs with Charles Smith’s String King through most of the stretch run?

“I thought I won,” said Eramia, “but James (Graham aboard String King) wasn’t so sure.  ‘It’s very tight,’ James said as we were pulling up.

“Sunbean is a good horse, a very easy horse to ride,” said Eramia, “and I also have the mount on (Brittlyn Stable’s) Gantry, who won the ($100,000) Thanksgiving Handicap.  That old horse is a good horse, too.  He’s being pointed toward the ($75,000) Gaudin (Jan. 25) and the ($150,000) Duncan Kenner (Mar.8).  Good horses like that make my job easy.  All I have to do is ride them.”

DAVID FLORES WINS SANTA ANITA’S MALIBU BEFORE LEAVING FOR SINGAPORE—Veteran jockey David Flores won the $75,000 “Buddy” Diliberto Memorial with Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best and the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap with Zayat Stables’ Prayer for Relief with his last two mounts of the season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Santa Super Saturday.  Then he caught a late flight to California to spend Christmas with his family before leaving the United States to fulfill a commitment in Singapore for the next six months.

However, hours before leaving California for the Orient, the 45-year-old reins master added another win to his lifetime totals on opening day at Santa Anita Thursday aboard Dennis Cardoza and Mike Pegram’s Shakin It Up, who scored in the Grade I Malibu Stakes.

Finishing second in the Malibu, a half-length behind the winner, was Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Central Banker, trained by Al Stall Jr., who also finished second by a neck to Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap on Nov. 28.

Stall is now considering Aqueduct’s Grade I Carter Handicap in April as the next major goal for Central Banker with a possible start at Fair Grounds before that.

ARMY, SGT. MAJOR ROSS LEAD RUSSIANS’ MARCH INTO FG’S WINNER’S CIRCLE —The Russians keep coming again and again into the winner’s circle at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots – now for three straight race days.

Twenty months after Raut LLC’s Hero of Order, trained by Gennadi Dorochenko, lit up Fair Grounds’ tote board with a $220.80 win price in the 2012 edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby, owner Vladimir Kazakov of Glockenburg LLC, trainer Pavel Vashchenko and jockey Alexander Reznikov – all of whom were born in Russia – have been making their own mark at the New Orleans oval.

Two days before Christmas jockey Reznikov came from off the pace to guide Glockenburg’s Army to a half-length score in the third race of the afternoon. It was Reznikov’s first win at Fair Grounds and Army returned $27.80 to her supporters.

On the day after Christmas that same Russian troika made another late charge with Glockenburg’s Sgt. Major Ross, who led seven rivals home by 2 ¼-lengths in the fifth race of the day and paid $20.40 to win.

Again on Friday, two days after Christmas, they tallied once more, this time with Glockenburg’s Forget the Name, but who could forget the name of that horse if they cashed a win ticket on him?  He paid $56.80 Friday.

Does Reznikov, who is 31 years old and has been in the United States two years, speak English?

“Very little,” said Reznikov’s valet Aaron Parsons.  “He seems to understand you when you talk to him because he nods back at you like he does, but you don’t really know. The other day, he was trying to tell me to bet on his horse (Army), but I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about until after the horse won.”