Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Thursday, December 8

·        Nubin Ridge Tries to Stay Perfect for New Connections

·        Fort Pulaski Leads Pish Champions Day Trio

·        Work Tab


Claiming a 6-year-old Louisiana-bred by Gold Tribute with 51 starts to his credit over five seasons for $62,500 takes no small amount of chutzpah, but that is just what trainer Alan Klanfer and owner Circle H Farms did on Sept. 15 at Kentucky Downs for then-seven-time winner Nubin Ridge. The owner-trainer team were rewarded for their gumption two months later when the dark bay gelding won the $50,000 Heitai Stakes on Nov. 19 in his first start for his new connections, setting him up as one of the horses to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint.

“He came out really well and we haven’t had to breeze him or anything,” Klanfer said. “He’s not a big horse and has held his fitness. He had a few breezes after we got him at Kentucky Downs and before his last race. All seems well going into Saturday.”

Before his lone start for trainer Brad Cox at Kentucky Downs, he was trained in New York by Chris Englehart and proved a tough customer against some top sprinters, including A. P. Indian, Marking and Salutos Amigos. His best previous effort in 2016 had come when a strong second to Cerro in the $85,000 Caixa Electronica over seven furlongs on Apr. 2 at Aqueduct.

“He was running really good up there and never missed a beat,” Klanfer said. “You knew he had to be sound because he kept running well and had not had a break in a long time.

“It’s a lot of money ($62,500) to spend, but he was worth it,” he continued. “A horse that has run as many times as him has his own style and it’s all about the trip. He has to get lucky. Overall, we are happy with him and we hope he runs well. We’ll give him another little break after this race and point to more local stakes races.”


Tigertail Ranch and trainer Danny Pish head into Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day with a serious chance to take down multiple races with the team’s three entrants, topped by promising sophomore Fort Pulaski in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. In six career races, the chestnut son of Any Given Saturday has three victories and was a smart fourth last out against his elders in the $50,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes, the local prep for the Turf.

In what was his first attempt on the turf, the improving sort ran well, closing from the back to lose by a length after a wide trip under Deshawn Parker. Earlier in the year, Fort Pulaski clashed with some excellent horses on the dirt, including Texas Chrome, Dalmore and Sharp Azteca. Still, despite also breaking his maiden on the dirt and dominating older horses in allowance company two back on the Delta Downs main track, Pish – who has tallied 145 races thus far in 2016 – decided to give him another try over the grass in lieu of the richer Classic.

“He’s doing really well and training training good,” Pish said. “He came back after the race and breezed nicely. I think he got across the grass awfully well the first time on it and we may have wanted to lay a little closer. I think he ran a big race to finish as closely as he did to those good horses and it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities for him to move forward. I’m hoping he gets more of a mid-pack trip this time.”

Florent Geroux picks up the mount on Saturday.

“Deshawn is a great rider, but it’s hard to beat Florent on the turf and (getting him) definitely made it easier to run (in the Turf),” Pish continued. “This race could be a changing of the guard from these older (Louisana-bred) turf horses.”

Pish also looks forward to starting full-siblings Wheatfield and Chattanoogan in the $100,000 Ladies Sprint and $100,000 Sprint, respectively. Each fruits of the cross between stallion Lone Star Special and mare Thistle Bear, they are 4- and 3-years-old and each enter their events with a chance.

While Chattanoogan will likely be the longer shot of the two, having finished off the board in his last two attempts and coming off a five-month freshening, he does have a sprint victory over the local surface and hails from a barn that strikes at 18% from 122 starts off similar layoffs. Wheatfield enters off two solid stakes placings against open company and should go to post as one of the favorites in the Ladies Sprint.


Heider Family Stables and Craig Bernick’s multiple stakes winner Savings Account worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 for trainer Tom Proctor on Monday morning.

Stonestreet Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Terra Promessa worked a half-mile in 50.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen on Tuesday morning.

Graded stakes-winning comebacker Xtra Luck worked a half-mile in 50.20 on Tuesday for trainer Neil Howard. Owned by Michele and Cliff Love, the 5-year-old grass marathon specialist has not raced since Aug. 2015.

Pin Oak Stud’s multiple stakes-placed Synchrony worked three furlongs in 36.80 for trainer Mike Stidham on Wednesday morning.

Graded stakes-placed track record holder Blarp worked a half-mile in 49.20 on Wednesday for trainer Tom Amoss and owners Robert Persons and Earl Conrad Sanderson, Jr.

Multiple stakes-winning miler and millionaire Rise Up worked a half-mile in 49.80 on Wednesday morning for trainer Tom Amoss and owner Paul Van Doren.

Charles Fipke’s homebred classic-placed gelding Golden Soul worked a half-mile in 49.80 on Thursday morning for trainer Dallas Stewart.