Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Thursday, November 17

·        Stidham Stocked for Another Big Meet

·        Scatter Gun Points to Allowance

·        Work Tab



Defending champion Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots trainer Mike Stidham appears amply stocked for what could be another quality meet for the veteran conditioner. Stidham earned his first career title at any racetrack during the 2015-16 meet, spurring what has been a productive season.

“It’s a complete opposite feel from last year,” Stidham said. “Last year we came in here and had just lost the (Ike and Dawn) Thrash horses and we were looking at each other thinking we might be in big trouble. Then we saw the way the meet went.

“This year we are coming in loaded,” he continued. “We will have 50 here (at Fair Grounds) and 40 or 50 at Evangeline (Downs) that we can move back and forth. We’re in a good spot, but really we won’t know how things play out until the meet gets started.”

During the 2015-16 season, Stidham struck at 20% for 38 wins from 186 starts, while his horses earned $1,249,215. He also had the second-highest runner-up count with 33 and was in the money 49% of the time.

“Looking around and seeing that (Mark) Casse sent horses and so did (Tom) Proctor and I know (Scott) Becker is supposed to send some - guys like that, it’ll be tougher,” Stidham said. “Then you have to think that at any given time (Steve) Asmussen could send his top horses here and nobody beats him. There’s always (Tom) Amoss, too, if he’s bulked back up he’s always tough. There are a lot of variables. We’d love to win it again, but I’m not making any predictions. I do think we are set up to compete.

“I’m looking forward to running (stakes winner) Jockamo’s Song,” he continued. “We gave him some time after last year’s meet and he’s had one race back. We’re excited about getting him back in action and we also have some nice young horses who will start. R Naja, we are excited to get her running soon. Overall, we have a nice, diversified group of horses from maiden and claiming to allowance and stakes horses. It’ll be interesting.”


Scatter Gun, the lightly raced darling of the Neil Pessin barn, worked a sharp five furlongs for the second consecutive week on Thursday, negotiating the distance in 1:00 flat, good for second-best of 32 moves. Owned by Lothenbach Stables, the daughter of the late Scat Daddy has proven talented in just five starts, including a romp when breaking her maiden in Sept. 2015 at Kentucky Downs and then a smart victory over the same course one year and only two starts later.

According to Pessin, the WinStar Farm-bred dark bay filly has exited her ninth-place finish in the Grade III $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland in October well and will point to a 5-year-old campaign. Breaking poorly, the oft-fragile frontrunner was rushed into contention before eventually finishing off the board for the first time in her career, beaten 6½  lengths.

Pessin reported that the Kentucky-bred will now take advantage of her conditions and point to an allowance at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 1. While Brian Hernandez, Jr., was aboard at Keeneland, regular rider Florent Geroux returns to the saddle next out.


Brittlyn Stable’s Clearly Now worked toward his date with next Thursday’s Thanksgiving Handicap with a five-furlong move in 1:02.20 for trainer Ron Faucheux. Off since the Grade III $250,000 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland on Apr. 9, the 6-year-old dark bay horse blitzed a best-of-56 work in 1:00.60 on Nov. 5 at the same distance.

Promising turf sophomore Cordon worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Pavel Vaschenko and Glockenburg LLC. The son of Archarcharch was a good third in the $350,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and sixth in the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington this summer before a perplexing eighth in Keeneland allowance company last out. The move was his second since a month-long freshening from said Oct. 9 effort.

Last year’s $50,000 Battle of New Orleans Stakes winner Adrianne G worked toward her next start with a half-mile move in 48.60 for trainer Bret Calhoun and owner Thomas Galvin. The turf-sprinting 5-year-old daughter of Indygo Shiner has won 11-of-32 lifetime.

DARRS, Inc.’s highly regarded maiden juvenile filly R Naja, already Listed stakes placed in just three starts, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.80 for trainer Mike Stidham.