Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Saturday, December 2

                                                                         

·        Farrell Settling in at Fair Grounds

·        Girvin Enjoying His Down Time

·        Pegasus-Bound Forever Unbridled and Seeking the Soul Arrive

FARRELL SETTLING IN AT FAIR GROUNDS

The queen of the Fair Grounds has returned. Farrell, owned by breeder Coffeepot Stables and trained by three-time Breeders’ Cup-winning conditioner Wayne Catalano, has taken up residence at the course over which she swept the three local Grade I Kentucky Oaks preps last season — the Listed Silverbulletday Stakes, Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. 

“She’s doing great,” Catalano said. “I’m happy with her. We thought about running her in the (Grade II) Falls City (at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24), but it was too close to her last race. We don’t have any plans just yet, but she will work soon. I’m in no rush just yet.” 

After a disastrous run and eased last-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks as the post time second choice, the daughter of Malibu Moon was given the summer off. Returning in the Listed $100,000 Dogwood Stakes on Sept. 23, the half-sister to multiple Grade I winners was a lackluster fifth, beaten 10¼ lengths under regular rider Channing Hill. She righted that wrong next out with a stylish victory in the Grade II Chilukki Stakes, besting older mares.

“You always like to see them come back and get better from two to three,” Catalano continued. “I’m happy she’s doing good right now and we’ll look at big races next year.” 

While no plans are set in stone as far as a race, Catalano did say that the Apple Blossom and other such Grade I events are the goal with the soon-to-be 4-year-old filly. 

GIRVIN ENJOYING HIS DOWN TIME

Reigning Louisiana Derby champion and Grade I winner Girvin is doing well on the farm, according to owner Brad Grady. The son of Tale of Ekati has been enjoying his down time at Grand Oaks in Ocala, Florida, the farm owned by Grady, and will return to training later this winter in the Joe Sharp barn at the Fair Grounds. 

“He’s doing well right now and we are giving him 60 days to relax,” Grady said. “He needed the time and we thought we owed it to him. In January we’ll probably start training him and putting some light exercise into him. He’s a man on the farm right now. He’s full of himself.”

No immediate goals have been established for the dark bay colt, but Grady did say that a return to Grade I company is the goal before the winner of the Grade I Haskell Invitational eventually heads to stud.

PEGASUS-BOUND FOREVER UNBRIDLED AND SEEKING THE SOUL ARRIVE

Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled and Seeking the Soul, each exiting Grade I wins and both aiming to the $16-million Grade I Pegasus World Cup, have arrived at their winter base of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and have resumed training. 

“The mare is doing great,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “She jogged and I haven’t decided when I’ll breeze her yet. Both she and (Grade I Clark Handicap winner) Seeking the Soul are doing very good and are very happy. I’m glad to be back in New Orleans. I already tore up some gumbo and some oysters.”

Stewart confirmed that both horses are being aimed toward the Pegasus, the richest race in the world. No riding assignments have been finalized, as journeyman John Velazquez rode both in their last-out triumphs, including a championship-clinching Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff victory by Forever Unbridled.