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Barn Notes: Saturday, January 6


•           Wonder Gadot, Heavenly Love Breeze In Tandem Saturday Morning

•           Cooptado All Systems Go For Louisiana Stakes; Ciaran Will Scratch From Lecomte

•           Bradley Expresses Excitement In Champion Groupie Doll’s First Foal Tapability

•           Impressive Allowance Winner Supreme Aura Will Most Likely Stretch Out Next Start



The Mark Casse-trained pair of 3-year-old fillies, Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love, breezed in company with one another over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track on Saturday morning in preparation for their starts on Saturday, Jan. 13. Both fillies went a half-mile in :49.40.

Owned by Debby Oxley, Heavenly Love is slated to run in the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, the first of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Oaks that awards the top 4 finishers based off of a 10-4-2-1 scale. Wonder Gadot is cross-entered in the same event as well as the Grade III $200,000 LeComte against colts. Casse’s assistant trainer David Carroll stated on Saturday morning that the decision concerning which race the Ontario-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro will run will be made closer to the time of the race.

“I think (Owner) Mr. (Gary) Barber and Mark will make the decision closer to race time,” Carroll said. “The main thing was to get a work over the track which she handled beautifully and she cooled out great. She and Heavenly Love both went beautifully. That decision will be made on game day so to speak. I think he’ll just be looking at the race and probably see who scratches and then take it from there. The main thing is that she shipped in very well and breezed beautifully. Whatever race she goes in, we look forward to it.”

Heavenly Love, a daughter of Malibu Moon, will be making her first start since an 11th place finish in the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar on Nov. 4 and will be in search of her first win since a superb effort in Keeneland’s Gr. I Darley Alcibiades, which she won by 5 ½ lengths.

Wonder Gadot ran sixth in the Juvenile Fillies and made her last start in the Gr. II Demoiselle at Aqueduct on Dec. 2, which she won by 3¾ lengths. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is named the rider aboard Wonder Gadot in both races. Heavenly Love will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

Meanwhile, LeComte contenders Ebben and Zeke logged their final serious preparations for the event on Saturday morning. Owned by Craig Aguilar, Ebben went a half-mile in :48.80 while Bosschi Stable’s Zeke went five furlongs in 1:01.40.

The LeComte is the first of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby and awards the Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.


Trainer Tom Morley did not originally plan on running Cooptado (Arg) in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes following a victory in the Tenacious Handicap on Dec. 16,  but decided to give it a shot when the 8-year-old son of Equal Stripes (Arg)had been training so well.

“Literally a week to ten days after the race, my assistant Mark (O’Dwyer) said to me, ‘Tom this horse is just jumping out of his skin’,” Morley said. “He’s doing extremely well. I was so pleased with his effort last time but he definitely seems to have come out of that race almost better than those two turf tries so were looking forward to it. With seven starts on dirt and five wins, he obviously likes the surface when the surface is right for him. He likes the dirt here so we’ll have a crack at the Louisiana Stakes.”

Owned by Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev, Cooptado worked a half-mile over the Fair Grounds main track in :48.60 on Saturday morning. He made his third start in North America when he won the Tenacious Handicap over fellow Louisiana Stakes rivals Shut The Box and Leofric. His United States debut took place in an allowance event over the Keeneland lawn in October where he was third behind graded stakes winner Shining Copper. The Tenacious Handicap was also Cooptado’s first victory since capturing the Group I Longines Singapore Gold Cup in 2015.

“He’s an old horse who just does enough in the morning but he worked great and I’m happy with his energy level,” Morley said.

Morley went on to state that Gr. III LeComte entrant Ciaran will scratch from the race in favor of a mile-and -70-yard allowance event over the Fair Grounds main track on the following Saturday, Jan. 20.

“The Lecomte came up a very deep field and we are going to just wait for an allowance the following week,” Morley said.

With Ciaran now a no-go for the mile and 70 yard event, also-eligible entrant Trigger Warning now has the option to run.



Much of the focus on Saturday, Jan. 13 will be placed on the field of 14 3-year-olds chasing Kentucky Derby dreams in the Gr. III LeComte. Earlier on the card however, Tapability, the first foal out of two-time Champion Female Sprinter Groupie Doll, will be making his career debut for trainer William “Buff” Bradley.

Tapability is by leading North American sire Tapit and owned by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm LLC. Pope bought the two-time Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner at the 2013 Keeneland November Sale for $3,100,000. Following such a lucrative purchase, she remained in training under the care of Bradley and made two final starts before going off to the breeding shed. Such final starts came in the Gr. I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct against colts where she was fourth before rounding out her successful career at Gulfstream Park in the Gr. III Hurricane Bertie in January 2014. Groupie Doll is Bradley’s most successful Thoroughbred to date with $2,648,880 in career earnings. That being said, Bradley has an obvious sense of pride in conditioning her first foal.

“We’re very happy and very thrilled to be able to train him,” Bradley said. “Mandy has been very nice to us and has the confidence in us to send him to us at let us train him. Apparently (Tapit and Groupie Doll nicked pretty well) because that’s where the next couple of babies are coming from. The next one is a filly and then there’s another Tapit colt. It’s pretty exciting to be able to run this horse.”

In preparation for his career debut, Tapability worked a half-mile in :49.80 over the Fair Grounds main track on Saturday morning.

“He breezed Saturday morning from the gate,” Bradley said. “He’s been a little slow coming out of there so we were glad that he breezed very well out of the gate this morning. He’s ready to go.”

Bradley went on to compare Tapability to his champion mother in terms of their behavior around the barn.

“He’s pretty much like Groupie Doll in his aggressiveness,” Bradley said. “When he gets out there and wants to do it you can see that he’s really on it. She might have been a little more laid back around the barn area whereas he’s a bit more aggressive around the barn and in his stall. It’s probably (because he’s a) colt, but you can tell that he’s a very happy horse, always wants to play. He’s very manageable though and he’s a very happy horse.”

Later in the day, Bradley will send out The Player in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes, run at a distance of a mile and 70 yards over the main track.

Nicknamed “Angus” around the barn due to his rock star mentality, the 5-year-old son of Street Hero, owned by Bradley in partnership with Carl Hurst, will be looking for redemption after a fifth-place effort in the Gr. I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24 behind Seeking The Soul.  His last victory took place prior to such an effort in the Gr. III Fayette at Keeneland on Oct. 28.

“He had a very nice (half-mile) breeze (in :49.80 on Saturday) morning,” Bradley said. “I just don’t think that the Clark was his race, he’s better than that. He encountered some problems in there but he shipped down here and has been very happy here. He showed in the Fayette and in some of his other races that he’s got the talent to compete at a high level.”

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel will ride The Player who breaks from post five.



Trainer Mike Stidhambelieves that Supreme Aurais capable of stretching out in distance following a victory in a six-furlong allowance event on Friday afternoon, and will more than likely do just that for his next start.

Owned by Stallionaire Enterprises LLC, the 3-year-old son of Candy Ride (Arg)broke his maiden at Delaware Park first time out on Aug. 9, which was his only start before his win on Friday afternoon.

“First time out, he looked like he was struggling and he just pulled away late and he did so today,” Stidham said. “We got his maiden broken and we gave him some time to grow up and mature. It really worked because he filled out a lot for us and blossomed. This is what we were hoping for and we got it. We’re going to see how he comes out of this race and see what kind of number he ran and then make our decisions, but he’s definitely going to be stretched out.”