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Stakes Advances: Louisiana Stakes & Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes

 

 

Four other stakes races will take place on Fair Grounds’ Road to The Derby Kickoff Day presented by Hotel Monteleone, including the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth event run on the main track for 4-year-olds and upward.

The 3-1 morning line favorite for the event is The Player who is owned by trainer William “Buff” Bradley and Carl Hurst. Breaking from post five under Hall of Fame rider Calvin Borel, the son of Street Hero will be seeking redemption following a lack luster fifth in Churchill Downs’ Gr. I Clark Handicap on Nov. 24 where he was beaten seven lengths behind Seeking the Soul. Prior to his most recent effort, he scored a graded stakes win over a sloppy main track at Keeneland in the Gr. II Fayette Stakes on Oct. 28. 

Eleven others will enter the starting gate for the Louisiana Stakes including last year’s winner Hawaakom, who will be in search of his first trip to the winner’s circle since last year’s edition of the race. If the 8-year-old son of Jazil wishes to defend his title, he will have to overcome a four-month layoff as he has not seen racing action since the Gr. III Greenwood Cup Stakes at Parx Racing on Sept. 4. He does, however, boast a 9-3-1-2 record over the New Orleans oval. Aside from last year’s Louisiana Stakes, his other two Fair Grounds triumphs took place when he broke his maiden all the way back in December 2012 at odds of 36-1 and when defeating allowance company in January 2016 in a race that included 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve. He is owned by trainer Wesley Hawley in partnership with Stephan A. Smoot and will break from the rail under Miguel Mena at odds of 12-1.

Current Fair Grounds leading trainer Brad Cox will send a Steve Landers Racing LLC-owned pair for the Louisiana Stakes – Leofric (post three, 8-1, Corey Lanerie) and Dazzling Gem (post ten, Shaun Bridgmohan, 9-2). A 5-year-old son of Candy Ride (Arg), Leofric was third in the Tenacious Stakes last out, which was his first start since an allowance victory at Oaklawn Park on Apr. 15 of last year, which also was his third straight win. Like his stable mate, Dazzling Gem’s last outing also took place coming from well off the bench. The 5-year-old son of Misremembered was second beaten a head behind Dan The Go To Man last out in Remington Park’s Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes on Dec. 17. The narrow miss at the Oklahoma oval was his first start since a fourth-place finish in Oaklawn Park’s Essex Stakes on Mar. 18 of last year. Dazzling Gem participated in the Fair Grounds stakes program available for older horses on the dirt last year, but was second behind Hawaakom in last year’s Louisiana Stakes and was third beaten  half-length behind Honorable Duty and 2015 Louisiana Derby winner International Star.

Trainer Mike Stidham will look for another stakes win with Godolphin Racing LLC’s Cedartown (post four, Joe Bravo, 10-1) after taking last year’s Zia Park Derby on Nov. 22. The regally-bred son of Candy Ride (Arg) is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Danzing Candy and was a $620,000 purchase at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale in Florida. Cedartown broke his maiden at third asking by 5 ¼ lengths over the Monmouth Park main track and has never finished worse than second in six career starts.

Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev’s seasoned veteran Cooptado (Arg) will seek another stakes win over the Fair Grounds main track after taking the Tenacious Stakes on Dec. 16. Trained by Tom Morley, the 8-year-old son of Equal Stripes (Arg) will break from post eight at 8-1 odds under Declan Cannon. The Tenacious Stakes was Cooptado’s first victory since winning the Longines Singapore Gold Cup (Sin-I) in Nov. 2015.

Rounding out the Louisiana Stakes field are graded stakes winner Rated R Superstar (post two, Brian Hernandez, Jr., 12-1), dirt marathon specialist and multiple graded stakes winner Scuba (post six, Julien Leparoux, 10-1), Golden Gate invader Seattle Serenade (post seven, Javier Castellano, 12-1), stakes-placed Shut The Box (post nine, Florent Geroux, 8-1), four-time winner December Seven (post ten, James Graham, 12-1) and last year’s Gr. III LeComte winner Guest Suite (post 11, Robby Albarado, 15-1).

 

 

 

 

Thomas F. Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth’s Tower of Texas is the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite for the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth event for 4-year-olds and upward on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.

Breaking from post five under Florent Geroux, the 7-year-old son of Street Sense enters the turf event off of a third place finish in Gulfstream Park’s Gr. III Tropical Turf Stakes where he was beaten a length behind stable mate Shakimat and Galton (post three, Javier Castellano, 5-1). He is a multiple stakes winner in his native Ontario having taken the 2015 Gr. II King Edward Stakes over the Woodbine lawn and the Gr. II Connaught Cup Stakes at the Toronto oval. Two starts ago he won the non-graded Labeeb Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 4. He is trained by Roger Attifield.

Riverside Bloodstock LLC’s Dimension (GB) will make his first start as a 10-year-old in the Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes.  Last out, the iron horse found the winner’s circle in over a year when he won the Buddy Diliberto Memorial over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, his lone outing over the surface. In 2015, he secured two graded stakes wins over the Woodbine turf – the Connaught Cup and the King Edward Stakes, both Gr. II events. He will be ridden by James Graham and will break from the rail at 8-1 odds.

Completing the field are multiple graded stakes winner Avanzare (post two, Adam Beschizza, 12-1), stakes winner Monster Bea (post four, John Velazquez, 6-1), defending winner Granny’s Kitten (post six, Corey Lanerie, 6-1), Kentucky Downs stakes winner Applicator (post seven, Jack Gilligan, 12-1), graded stakes winner Saham (post eight, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 8-1), recent Gulfstream Park restricted stakes winner Special Ops (post nine, Julien Leparoux, 6-1) and graded stakes winner Thatcher Street (post ten, Brian Hernandez, Jr., 8-1).