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Stakes Advance: Black Gold Stakes & Dixie Poker Ace

The $50,000 Black Gold Stakes at 7½ furlongs on the Stall-Wilson turf course features a rematch of the top-two finishers in last month’s $50,000 Keith Gee Memorial at the same trip. Slated for Saturday, Feb. 27, the sophomore event is led by Hillerich Racing and trainer Bernie Flint’s One Mean Man, who gamely overtook TNT Thoroughbreds’ Doug Matthews-trained Cashel Rock before holding off Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Mike Maker-trained Oscar Nominated by a neck at the wire under Colby Hernandez, who retains the mount from the rail.

Oscar Nominated, who had a rail trip last out when beaten as the 4-5 favorite, will get a new rider in Robby Albarado and break from post nine of 11. Cashel Rock will also get a new pilot when the two-time winner breaks from post seven under Patrick Valenzuela. Also exiting the Gee Memorial will be Philip Maas’ homebred Mike Stidham trainee Gotsomemojo, who was gaining late when fifth and beaten only 1¾ lengths. Mitchell Murrill retains the mount from post four.

Sprint stakes winner Taylors Angiel will look to prove his worth on the turf when the David Davis homebred breaks from post eight under Richard Eramia for trainer Karl Broberg. A winner of the $51,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes on Dec. 19 going six furlongs on the main track, the son of Private Vow was unplaced in the restricted Groovy Stakes last out on Jan. 23 at the same trip. The bay gelding will wear blinkers for the first time.

Trainer Tom Amoss starts intriguing recent acquisition Crescent Drive for owner Paul Van Doren. Third last out in the $125,000 Display Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on Woodbine’s Polytrack on Nov. 29, the son of Flower Alley earned a race-high 85 Beyer Speed Figure and Amoss is 22% with horses first-out in his care. James Graham has the mount from post 10.

The remainder of the Black Gold field consists of Victory Arch (Francisco Torres, post two), Bellamy Boy (Jose Riquelme, post three), Extra Credit (Shaun Bridgmohan, post five), A He’s an O’Prado (Brian Hernandez, Jr., post six) and Mundo Mutadda (Kerwin Clark, post 11).

Two races later, Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean (Richard Eramia, post 10) is entered to make his long-awaited return to the track for trainer Ron Faucheux in the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace over a mile on the Stall-Wilson turf course. One of 14 entered, Sunbean was likely entered with hopes of poor weather forcing the race off the grass, but if he remains in the race it would be his first attempt over the turf. By a graded turf stakes-winning sire, Sunbean was last seen finishing third at 2-5 in the 2015 $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship at Delta Downs over a year ago.

The one-two finishers from this year’s edition of the Louisiana Premier Night Championship are both entered in the Dixie Poker Ace in Fruition Racing’s Pat Devereux, Jr.-trained upset winner Stormdriver (Diego Saenz, post nine) – a winner of one start from seven turf tries – and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Joe Sharp-trainedOne King’s Man (James Graham, post 13), who failed to make a dent in his lone turf try in 2014.

Ronald Webb’s Hot Zapper (Jose Riquelme, post four) takes a considerable class break after finishing eighth of nine in the Grade III $125,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap on Jan. 16. A winner one race prior in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, the son of Ghostzapper has won three of his last four and two of three over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

The remainder of the field for the Dixie Poker Ace is completed by Hail to the Nile (Francisco Torres, rail), Next Event (Brian Hernandez, Jr., post two), McGehee’s Mercy (Marcelino Pedroza, post three), Watch My Smoke (Colby Hernandez, post five), Gallery (Robby Albarado, post six), Knockit Off (Jesus Castanon, post seven), True Flat (Jose Valdivia, Jr., post eight), Hopeful Notion (Miguel Mena, post 11), Jockamo’s Song (Mitchell Murrill, post 12) and Benwill (Patrick Valenzuela, post 14).