Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Saturday, March 10



•           Girvin Works Five Furlongs, 4-Year-Old Debut Still Undecided

•           Classy Act, Patrona Margarita Work For Gr. II Fair Grounds Oaks

•           Cooptado Takes Drop In Class For Sunday Allowance

•           $200,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four Set For Louisiana Derby Day



After a winter spent in Ocala, Fla. at Grand Oaks Farm, Brad Grady’s Girvin– winner of last year’s Gr. II Louisiana Derby and Risen Star Stakes – logged his first work at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this year on Saturday morning with a half-mile breeze in :49.80 for trainer Joe Sharp.

“We’ll probably work him five-eighths next week,” Sharp said. “I’d say timing wise we’re probably thinking of running him around the end of April or first part of May. We’re just letting him tell us.”

Girvin has not raced since a fifth-place finish in the Gr. III Oklahoma Derby in September. He gave Sharp his first Grade I victory as a trainer when he took Monmouth Park’s Haskell Invitational in August.

Also breezing on Saturday morning for Sharp was Mom’s On Strike, who went five furlongs in 1:02.60. The 5-year-old daughter of First Dude has won three straight over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, including the Marie G. Krantz and Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes. The next stakes event for older fillies and mares on turf is the $50,000 New Orleans Ladies Overnight Stakes on Mar. 24, but Sharp stated that it is an appearance against colts in the Gr. II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes is also a possibility.

“We’re keeping our options open, obviously she’s the best of the girls here,” Sharp said. “We’ll look to see how that race comes up. Her numbers are really good and she’s got the track pretty well measured and the timing is good.”



Trainer Bret Calhoun’s pair of Gr. II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (100-40-20-10) aspirants – Classy Actand Patrona Margarita– both turned in five furlongs breezes in preparation for the final local prep for the Gr. I $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Owned by Carl R. Moore Management LLC, Classy Act fired a bullet and went the five-eighths distance in a swift :59.80. The drill was the fastest of 45 recorded works at the distance. She finished second behind Monomoy Girl in the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 17 last time out.

“She’s started to learn to relax a little better and get off the pole easy,” Calhoun said. “She finished up strong and galloped out well.”

The Rachel Alexandra was the stakes debut for the daughter of Into Mischief. She broke her maiden over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course in December at fourth asking before defeating winners in an allowance event on Jan. 19. 

“She’s been like the iron horse,” Calhoun said. “She’s had some hard races and she’s run hard. She keeps getting better and better. She just needs to learn how to turn off a little bit and she’s learning that. I think in her last race a horse next to her was acting up a little bit in the gate and she lost her concentration when they opened the gates. I think if she leads there on time, she’s up there cruising a lot more relaxed. Since (jockey) Javier (Castellano) had to smooch at her to keep her running, she got a little more keen.”

Texas-bred stable mate Patrona Margarita worked her five furlongs in 1:00.40. The Craig Upham-owned daughter of Special Rate was fourth in the Rachel Alexandra, which was her first start since taking the Gr. II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs last September.

“She was very ready but she needed the race,” Calhoun said. “It looked like late in the race she was going to get third and then she just got tired. It looked like she caught her breath and galloped out nicely. I think you’ll get a good race out of both of them.”

Classy Act is currently No. 10 on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 20 points, while Patrona Margarita lies at No. 11 with 15 points.



Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Eugeny Kappushev’s Cooptado (Arg.)takes a drop in class in a Sunday allowance optional claiming event going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the Fair Grounds main track.

The seasoned veteran of eight years was a 17-1 upset winner of the Tenacious Stakes on Dec. 16, which was his first victory since taking the Group I Longines Singapore Gold Cup in Nov. 2015. The son of Equal Stripes (Arg.) did not mirror such efforts last time out in the Louisiana Stakes on Jan. 13 where he finished sixth.

“Last time out didn’t pan out very well,” trainer Tom Morley said. “He was moving around in the gate when they opened the doors. The trip is important. He can’t afford to spot field five or six lengths. He was running back quickly as well. I was delighted to see this race in the condition

book. It’s a top class allowance event. He was well beaten last time, but I’m looking forward to get him going again.”

Other stakes winners in Sunday’s competitive allowance event include Guest Suite, No Distortion and It’s Your Nickel. Shut The Box, who was second behind Cooptado in the Tenacious, also is entered in the race.

Cooptado will be guided by jockey Adam Beschizza from post four.



Three Pick Fours are slated for the wagering menu Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby Day card on Saturday, Mar. 24, including a $200,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4. The first post is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. central time for an action-packed card which includes:

•              Gr. II $ 1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (100-40-20-10) for 3-year-olds going a mile-and-an-eighth on the main track

•              Gr. II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (100-40-20-10) for 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track

•              Gr. II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap for 4-year-olds an upward going a mile-and-an-eighth on the main track

•              Gr. II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap for 4-year-olds and upwards going a-mile-and-an-eighth on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course

•              $50,000 New Orleans Ladies Overnight Stakes for fillies and mares four years old and upward going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course

•              $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes for Louisiana-breds at least four years old going five-and-a-half furlongs on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course

•              $75,000 Crescent City Derby for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track

•              $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-70-yards on the main track