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Barn Notes: Sunday, December 7

IN TODAY'S NOTES: RISE UP WORKING WELL, WOODCHOPPER POSSIBLE; STRING KING SEEKING CLASSIC REDEMPTION; I DAZZLE SIGNALS READINESS FOR CHAMPIONS DAY

RISE UP WORKING WELL, WOODCHOPPER POSSIBLE

            Talented sophomore Rise Up continued his preparation for what could be a fruitful 4-year-old season in 2015 on Sunday morning.  The Paul Van Doren-owned son of Rockport Harbor negotiated four furlongs in a bullet :47.60 at Fair Grounds Race Course for leading trainer Tom Amoss.

            A winner of four stakes races in his career, Rise Up was one of the leading local contenders for the Kentucky Derby earlier this year after a juvenile season that saw him take the $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile, $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes and Grade III $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot with style. 

After disappointing in the local Derby preps, he won the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes at Charles Town before tailing off in two more stakes and receiving a five-month rest.  Sunday’s work was the bay colt’s fourth consecutive bullet and the best of 73 moves at the distance.

“We don’t really have a plan with him yet.  We’re looking at the Woodchopper with him if it gets rained off the turf,” Amoss said.  “He’s doing really well.  His first race back was a very good race and a lot better than the result.”

On Nov. 27, Rise Up ran for the first time since July 2 in a seven-furlong allowance in which he made a sharp mid-race move and battled on to lose by 4 lengths to older horses and multiple stakes winners Apprehender and Pataky Kid.  The Woodchopper is a $60,000 stakes for sophomores over a mile on the grass and is one of the last stakes for 3-year-olds this year.

STRING KING SEEKING CLASSIC REDEMPTION

Charles C. Smith’s veteran homebred String King will look to do one better next Saturday when he tackles the best Louisiana-breds in training in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Fair Grounds Race Course.  A son of Crowned King with 13 wins in 32 lifetime starts – including four wins at the New Orleans oval – String King is coming off a good second to fellow Classic probable One King’s Man in an optional claiming event on Nov. 23.  Last year, in a heartbreaking finish, String King lost to local star Sunbean by a nose at the wire in the Classic.

“He’s doing great,” said Smith, who also trains the bay gelding.  “I just hope that we can sit on him long enough before he runs.  He’s his own worst enemy at times, but he’s in great shape.”

A versatile gelding, String King has raced 23 of his 32 events on the turf, but has been victorious on wet and fast dirt in addition to the grass.  In fact, the last time he raced over a dry dirt course – in the off-the-turf $75,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 2 – he was a sharp 2¼ length winner over nine other Pelican State-bred competitors.

“He can run on either surface but is just a tad better on grass,” Smith elaborated.  “He quickens a little better on grass and might be two or three lengths faster on it.  That being said, he had 60 days off before the last race and seems to have settled in pretty good at the Fair Grounds.  He is a fitter horse now.”


I DAZZLE SIGNALS READINESS FOR CHAMPIONS DAY      

I Dazzle continued her preparation for Louisiana Champions Day on Sunday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course  by working a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.60 – good for third-best of 60 moves at the distance.  Owned by trainer Mike Stidham along with Brent Gasaway and The Farm on 4, I Dazzle is coming off a third-place finish in the $100,000 Magnolia Stakes at Delta Downs on Oct. 31.

Prior to that effort, the daughter of Hold That Tiger won the Louisiana Cup Distaff over fellow Louisiana-breds on Aug. 2 and an allowance at Arlington International Racecourse on Sept. 11 in impressive style. 

A versatile type, I Dazzle has won races over dirt, Polytrack and turf – including a win in the grassy $60,000 Red Camelia Stakes at the Fair Grounds on March 22.  That effort made her two-for-two at the New Orleans oval’s grass course following a useful allowance victory one race prior. 

While possible to continue that local turf success against the boys in the Louisiana Champions Turf next Saturday, Dec. 13, Stidham reported that the sizeable 6-year-old mare is more likely to stay with her own sex in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies and make her local dirt debut over a course she apparently thrived on Sunday morning.  Both races are worth $100,000.