Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Thursday, January 5

·        Running Mate Bullets for Lecomte

·        Track Record Setter Blarp Tops Salty Friday Feature

·        Amoss-Geroux Combination Proving Tough

·        I’m a Chatterbox Lively in Wednesday Work

·        Work Tab

 

RUNNING MATE BULLETS FOR LECOMTE

Bret Jones’ homebred Running Mate appears to have shaken off his first career defeat for trainer Larry Jones. The son of Creative Cause indicated such with a half-mile bullet in a swift 47.20 for his connections on Wednesday morning, the best of 41 moves at the distance.

A runaway winner of his first two starts by a combined 13¾ lengths, the son of Street Cry (IRE) mare Street Mate never got to the lead in the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes on Dec. 17 and disappointed as the 2-5 favorite. Second across the wire, three lengths astern DARRS, Inc.’s Mike Stidham-trained Proforma, the dark bay colt was demoted to third after interfering with Divine Kaleb.

Sticking to plan, his conditioner is heading to the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 21 with the well-muscled newly turned 3-year-old.

“That’s our game plan,” Jones said. “He had a nice breeze and I think two turns is what the horse is wanting. Stidham’s horse might be a good horse, so maybe we got outrun, but we saw no reason to be discouraged from his effort and everything seems good so far, so we’ll give it a try. We’ve been beaten before and come back and won.”

TRACK RECORD SETTER BLARP TOPS SALTY FRIDAY FEATURE

Robert L. Persons and Earl Conrad Sanderson’s Blarp, who broke the 1:41 mark and set a new track record for about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course, returns for the first time since that Nov. 24 effort in Friday’s featured race, an about one-mile turf allowance/optional claiming ($80,000) event that drew a competitive field of eight, plus two main-track-only entrants.

A winner of 5-of-31 the 6-year-old gelded son of War Front was making his first start for trainer Tom Amoss when he scorched the local lawn with a three-quarter-length victory under James Graham. Meet-leading jockey Florent Geroux will ride this time from post five for the bay charge who completed his serious prep work with a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 flat on Dec. 29.

Morning-line favoritism has been bestowed upon Al & Bill Ulwelling’s Gary Scherer-trained Pumpkin Rumble, who exits a fifth – beaten 1¼ lengths – in the local $75,000 Diliberto Memorial on Dec. 17. Murrill retains the mount on the stakes-winning son of English Channel from the four-hole.

Others of note in the $44,000 event include Bill and Vicki Poston Racing’s recently Grade II-placed Oakton, who breaks from the rail under Francisco Torres for trainer Mark Casse, multiple allowance winners Chip Leader (Richard Eramia, post two) and Money Flows (Colby Hernandez, post three), as well as a potent Keith Bourgeois-trained entry of Delta Mile winner Hesinfront (Robby Albarado, post eight) and multiple stakes-placed R. Great Adventure.

Tekton(Shaun Bridgmohan, post six) completes the field, with Only in America (Richard Eramia, eight) and Grade III-placed Pulling G’s (Brian Hernandez, Jr., nine) entered for the main track.

AMOSS-GEROUX COMBINATION PROVING TOUGH

Meet-leading jockey Florent Geroux did not sit atop a charge trained by 11-time meet champion conditioner Tom Amoss until the trainer’s 15th starter of the 2016-17 meet on Dec. 2, but since finishing fourth on Maggi Moss’ Cajun Silver, the pair have gone on to prove a hardy combination.

In tandem, the team has a record of 15-6-2-2, resulting in a 40% strike rate, 67% in the money and $177,560 in earnings – including a pair of Louisiana Champions Day stakes victories on Moss’ Big World (Ladies) and Watch My Smoke (Starter).

I’M A CHATTERBOX LIVELY IN WEDNESDAY WORK

Multiple Grade I-winning 5-year-old mare I’m a Chatterbox continues to prepare at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for her seasonal debut for trainer Larry Jones and owners Carolyn and Fletcher Gray. One year after being an Eclipse Award finalist for the previous season’s sophomore year, the homebred daughter of Munnings has exited her 4-year-old season in great shape and spoke to that on the racetrack Wednesday morning with a half-mile move in 48.20.

“She went really well,” Jones said. “Hopefully we don’t have any issues with the quarantine and all will be on schedule for the (Grade III $400,000) Houston Ladies (on Jan. 29 at Sam Houston Race Park).

“She’s really done well and was running her best numbers of her career at the end of the year,” Jones continued. “We didn’t give her too much of a break. Basically we just gave her a couple weeks to recover in Kentucky after the Breeders’ Cup and brought her to New Orleans to prepare for this race. After this she may get a break before preparing for the rest of the season.”

WORK TAB

Brittlyn Stable had two of its stars out working Thursday morning. Al Stall, Jr.-trained Forevamo worked for the second time since a layoff, going three furlongs in 37.60 for the veteran conditioner. Multiple graded stakes winner Clearly Now shook off the cobwebs with a smart 48.20 half-mile for Ron Faucheux.

A swift pair of Midwest Thoroughbreds-owned stakes-level sprinters worked for trainer Tom Amoss. Multiple stakes-placed 4-year-old sprinter Quijote worked a half-mile in 48.60, while stakes-winning turf sprinter Galton worked in 49 flat.

Stakes-winning sprinter Chief Istan worked a swift half-mile in 47.80 for trainer Larry Jones and owners Sagamore Farm and Brereton C. Jones.

Carl R. Moore Management and Brad Grady’s stakes-winning sprint mare Mayla worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 for trainer Bret Calhoun.