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Barn Notes: Saturday, December 17

·        Lecomte Possible for Cool Arrow, Girvin

·        Clever Girl a Smart Winner for Cox

·        Dolphus May Point to Woodchopper

·        Work Tab



Brad Grady’s pair of Joe Sharp-trained promising juvenile colts Cool Arrow and Girvin are both under consideration for the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 21, according to their conditioner.

“Cool Arrow came out of his race great,” Sharp said. “We are going to maybe point both to the Lecomte, but will ultimately split them up.”

Cool Arrow has proven to be Sharp’s most accomplished juvenile of 2016, winning two stakes at Remington Park, including the $300,000 Springboard Mile last out gate-to-wire by 3½ lengths. Sandwiched between those Oklahoma efforts was a runner-up finish in in the restricted $300,000 Spendthrift Stallion Stakes on Oct. 30. The son of Spendthrift’s top juvenile stallion Into Mischief had three Fair Grounds works leading into his Springboard win.

On Friday afternoon, Sharp and Grady debuted a good-looking dark bay son of Tale of Ekati named Girvin. Showing good speed throughout, the Kentucky-bred half-brother to multiple stakes-winning 2015 2-year-old Cocked and Loaded prevailed by a head in a massive battle with Al Stall-trained first-time starter Excitations, who races for the Fair Grounds Racing Club. It was another 9¼ lengths back to another well-regarded Stall trainee in Hold Me Black, who is owned by the Benson family’s G M B Racing. Girvin earned a 99 Equibase Speed Figure.

“He was very impressive in the mornings and hadn’t been outworked,” Sharp said. “He did everything the right way and his mentality was good. I almost ran him long first-time out, definitely feeling he was better going long, but decided to sprint him and was surprised with how much speed he showed. He has the presence of a good horse.”


A juvenile filly to watch developing into her sophomore season in 2017 will likely be Tracy Farmer’sClever Girl, who improved to a perfect 2-for-2 on Thursday afternoon in an allowance for juvenile fillies over 7½ furlongs of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ Stall-Wilson turf course. 

Sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the field of six promising freshman fillies, Clever Girl tracked well-regarded Mike Stidham trainee Princess Lu Lu in second before engaging that filly turning for home, forging clear and holding off another well-intended type in Bret Calhoun-conditioned Senora Acero. In the end, she was a half-length clear and showed marked professionalism. 

“The 7½  furlongs was a little short for her,” Cox said. “We like her. She shocked us when she won first time because we didn’t think we had her cranked up. The other day she had short field and she sat off a slow pace and ran a big race. A mile and a sixteenth or so may be better. We will probably point her to the (Joseph E. ‘Spanky’ Broussard Memorial) in early February.”

Clever Girl was a $150,000 Keeneland November 2014 purchase and is by young sire Bernardini son Biondetti, a Group I-winning juvenile in Italy who finished fourth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Godolphin in 2010. She is out of multiple stakes-placed mare Classic Approval, who has proven to be a top-notch broodmare over the years. Her progeny include multiple Grade III winners Rusty Slipper and Gulch Approval, Listed winner Approval Rating and multiple graded stakes-placed Highest Class. Clever Girl was bred in Florida by Woodford Thoroughbreds. 


On the heels of a breakout allowance performance, Dede McGehee’s well-regarded and well-publicized homebred Dolphus is under consideration for the $75,000 Woodchopper Stakes on Dec. 31 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The chestnut half-brother to Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra won a rained-off seven-furlong Gulfsteam Park second-level allowance over a sloppy, sealed course last out by 9¼ lengths, earning a 119 Equibase Speed Figure in the process.

“We are going to nominate and look at the race,” trainer Joe Sharp said. “Two of the last four times the race was run it has come off the turf. He came out of the race in great shape.”

His dominant victory came as a sigh of relief for the colt’s connections, who have long thought highly of the son of Lookin at Lucky. In seven career starts, the Kentucky-bred has three victories and a third-place effort.

The Woodchopper is one of the final stakes restricted to sophomores in the country on the calendar year and is scheduled to be contested over a mile on the Stall-Wilson turf course.


Carl R. Moore Management’s streaking sprint filly Finley’sluckycharm worked a half-mile in 49 flat for trainer Bret Calhoun. Last out, the daughter of Twirling Candy won the $80,000 Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Robert S. Evans’ Rapid Rhythm, recent winner of the $50,000 Battle of New Orleans Stakes on Dec. 3, worked a half-mile in 51.40 for trainer Mike Stidham.

Keith Plaisance’s Louisiana-bred stakes winner Calamity Jane worked toward the $75,000 Pago Hop on New Year’s Day with a five-furlong move in 1:02.40 for trainer Eddie Johnston.

An unraced 2-year-old to watch is Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Tapit, who worked a co-bullet of 116 moves at four furlongs in 48 flat for trainer Mark Casse. The chestnut colt is a son of nation-leading stud Tapit and the first foal of Grade I Mother Goose Stakes winner Zo Impressive. Another in the Casse barn who impressive Saturday morning was John C. Oxley’s unraced homebred juvenile filly Summertime Sky, a daughter of Sky Mesa out of Chilean multi-seasonal champion Eccellenza (CHI) who worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.80.