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Stakes Recap: F. W. Gaudin Memorial

Maggi Moss’s Delaunay, Horse of the Meet last season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots but absent from competition for almost six months, proved the best once more in Saturday’s $60,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial, beating arch rival Gantry, owned by Brittlyn Stable, by 3 ¼-lengths.

Backed down to odds-on favoritism, Delaunay returned mutuels of $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10, sprinted the six furlongs in 1:09.58 after setting the early fractions of 22.15 and 45.20 and increased his career earnings to $884,486 with his 15th win in 42 lifetime trips to the post.

“That really felt good,” said a relieved trainer Tom Amoss as the 7-year-old gelding crossed under the wire.  “It’s really nice to have him back.”

A 10-time trainer champion at the local oval, Amoss had expressed some pre-race concern due to his horse’s layoff since finishing fourth in Saratoga’s Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap last August 4.

Last season, Delaunay swept Fair Grounds three-race sprint series, while Gantry accomplished that same sweep two seasons ago.

Delaunay, who missed the $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap as the first leg of the series this season due to a temperature, will now be pointed for the last leg – the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner on March 8.

In his absence, Gantry won this year’s Thanksgiving Handicap and today paid $2.40 and $2.10 in the Gaudin after prompting the pace of the winner and saving the place from J-Lu LLC’s Hip Four Sixtynine by three-quarters of a length.  That horse returned $3.20 to show.

Say No Moreand Channel Marker ran fourth and fifth, respectively, and Marchman was scratched earlier in the afternoon.

Racing returns Sunday with a nine-race program beginning at 1 p.m.