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Barn Notes: Thursday, February 13
IN TODAY'S NOTES: Pletcher Plans for Louisiana Derby Preview Day; Risen Star Prospect Hoppertunity Records Monday Move at Santa Anita; Rachel Alexandra Stakes Coming Up Strong as Fair Grounds Oaks Previw; Reminder: Upcoming Louisiana Derby Golf Tournament March 10
Ubiquitous Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, whose New Orleans invaders have won three of the last six renewals of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, will be sending Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday to this year’s 41st running of the Risen Star, centerpiece event of four graded stakes on the New Orleans oval’s upcoming Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 22.
During the last three races of his juvenile campaign last year, the entire son of Harlan’s Holiday finished fifth in Belmont’s Grade I Champagne last October and was then fourth in Aqueduct’s Grade II Nashua and Grade II Remsen in November.
Out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, Intense Holiday has made one start as a sophomore, finishing third in Gulfstream’s Grade II Holy Bull Stakes Jan. 25 while closing on the leaders. He appears to be the type of colt who will appreciate the long stretch run at Fair Grounds.
Intense Holiday breezed a half-mile Sunday at Palm Meadows in 48 flat.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble, winner of the Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 18 as the first leg of this year’s $1 million Louisiana Derby series, also breezed on Sunday over the local course, getting five furlongs in 1:00.60 in preparation for the Risen Star.
RISEN STAR PROSPECT HOPPERTUNITY RECORDS MONDAY MOVE AT SANTA ANITA—Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert worked Mike Pegram et al.’s Hoppertunity a handy half-mile in 47.20 at Santa Anita on Monday in advance of the upcoming Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The bay son of Any Given Saturday broke his maiden impressively with a three-length tally Jan. 30 at the Southern California oval.
Also on Monday here in New Orleans, Paul and Andrena Van Doren’s Grade III Delta Jackpot winner Rise Up breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 for defending trainer champion Tom Amoss.
On that same Monday work tab, Brereton Jones’s Albano, hero of the Sugar Bowl Stakes here last December, went five-eighths in 59.60 for trainer Larry Jones in preparation for the Risen Star.
Also accomplishing half-mile breezes Monday in preparation for the Risen Star were Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Gold Hawk, who went :49 flat for defending trainer champion Steve Asmussen, and Michele and Cliff Love’s Xtra Luck who went that same distance in 48.20 for trainer Danny Pish.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA STAKES COMING UP STRONG AS FAIR GROUNDS OAKS PREVIEW —The Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes Feb. 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is coming up small but strong as a preview of for the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings’ Got Lucky under consideration for the Rachel Alexandra after the daughter of 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A. P. Indy broke her maiden easily with a 5 ¼ length tally at Gulfstream Jan. 29.
Out on the west coast, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings’ Streaming penciled in for the same Fair Grounds Oaks prep as part of the Louisiana Derby Preview Day program.
Loooch Racing’s Ria Antonia, heroine of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November, who arrived in New Orleans after the first of the year, is also now being pointed for the Rachel Alexandra, as are Brereton Jones’s Divine Beauty, Fox Hill Farms’ Cassatt, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable and Connie Apostelos’ Shanon Nicole.
REMINDER: UPCOMING LOUISIANA DERBY GOLF TOURNAMENT MARCH 10—Interested parties are reminded that the Annual Louisiana Derby Golf Tournament to benefit the backstretch community at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will take place on March 10 at the Lakewood Country Club and Golf Course.
Registration forms can be found at www.fgno.com/golf. The event will begin with registration at 11 a.m., continue with lunch at noon, and the shotgun start to the tournament will begin at 1 p.m.
Participation fees for all players will include 18 holes of golf, use of a cart, lunch and a goodie bag. Designated specialty holes will also have additional prizes.