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Barn Notes: Saturday, March 31


•                  Trainer Morris Nicks Announces Retirement

•                  Scherer Pleased With 14-Length Maiden Winner Shakopee Town

•                  Bridgmohan, Cox, Moss All Maintain Leads Going Into Closing Day




Following a successful training career that spanned over five decades, Morris Nicks has announced his retirement.

A two-time graded stakes winning trainer, Nicks saddled winners at such caliber like Run Johnny, who took the Grade III Aristides Handicap at Churchill Downs in 1999 as well as Golden Sonata the winner of Oaklawn Park’s Gr. III Oaklawn Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2004. Other notable Nicks trainees include the likes of stakes winners Smitty’s Sunshine, Tensas Yucatan and Northern Scene.

“It’s been good to me,” Nicks said of his training career. “Health issues are why I’m leaving otherwise I wouldn’t leave. It’s been a good career and I have enjoyed it.”

Nicks is the father of South Florida-based conditioner Ralph Nicks and plans on using some of his free time to visit with his son.

“We’ll do a little traveling and spend some time with Ralph,” Nicks said. “I don’t get to see him but maybe once a year. He once said that he wanted me to come down to Florida and help[ him. He wanted me to retire a year ago. I said ‘Well all we do is fuss’ so he said, ‘When we do that, I’ll just go to New York’ and I said ‘Oh no. I’m not staying down with sixty head while you go up to New York, I’ll go to New York’. He’s his own deal. We’ll be going down to see him in Florida and maybe up to Saratoga.”

Nicks will saddle his final starter in the ninth race on Closing Day with Noisey Boy. His most recent winner at Fair Grounds was March 24 with Nebulas.




Trainer Gary Scherer has always had faith in Friday maiden winner Shakopee Town, who romped against fellow homebreds by an astonishing 14 lengths in her second career start.

But was Scherer expecting such a dominant effort from the daughter of Jersey Town?

“Yeah, but I thought it was going to happen the first time,” Scherer joked

In her career debut on March 10, Shakopee Town took command at the top of the Fair Grounds stretch but was passed up by Saints N Muskets who won by a head. She made amends on Saturday afternoon with a superb performance.

Scherer is quite familiar with the family of Shakopee Town having trained the 3-year-old filly’s siblings, including Wind Chill Factor who was Louisiana’s Champion 2-year-old filly in 2014 and multiple stakes winner Polar Plunge. Shakopee Town is the sixth progeny out of the mare Shakopee. All six horses out of the broodmare have found the winner’s circle.

“I trained all of her brothers and sisters with the exception of one,” Scherer said. “Every one of them won and ran at high levels. (Wind Chill Factor) was two-year-old of the year here in Louisiana. I trained Polar Plunge, who won almost three hundred thousand. So when this filly came, in my mind she was going to be a runner. When we got her up at Hawthorne, the way she’s built and with her being by Jersey Town, you know she’s going to be fast. She’s built like a sprinter. After the first few works at Hawthorne, I knew something was going to be pretty good.”

Scherer was unsure where Shakopee Town would race next, but mentioned that a stake would be in order at some point in the near future.

“She may go (to Arlington) to train or even stay with me at Canterbury to train, but we’ll see how she comes out, she seems to be fine,” Scherer said. “We may look at something big like the (Grade II $200,000) Eight Belles on Derby Eve just see what’s nominated there. There’s also Prairie Meadows. They have a nice little stake up there.”



Going into the final day of racing at the 2017-18 Winter Meet at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 2009-10 Shaun Bridgmohan (65) maintains his lead over newcomer Adam Beschizza (62) and defending rider Florent Geroux (61), but the race is far from settled.


Shaun Bridgmohan (65)

Saturday, March 31

Race 4: Uncommon Cat (5-1); Race 5: The Imposter (3-1); Race 7: Achiever (8-1); Race 8: Sea Vow (3-1); Race 10: Mageez (6-1); Race 11: Wild About Star (7-2)


Adam Beschizza (62)

Saturday, March 31

Race 1: Cool Arrow (5-2); Race 2: Lady Soul (4-1); Race 3: Little Sarge (4-1); Race 4: Logan’s Reward (12-1); Race 5: Kid Creole (10-1); Race 6: Hard Headed Woman (9-2); Race 7: Move It Man (8-1); Race 8: Spring Value (7-2); Race 9: Sivindahl (6-1); Race 11: Molly Rules (8-1); Race 12: Gone Pecan (4-1)


Florent Geroux (61)

Saturday, March 31

Race 1: St. Louie Guy (8-5); Race 3: Le Pin (Ire) (8-5); Race 5: Vittorioso (7-2), Race 6: Timuquana Place (9-2), Race 9: Minister’s Strike (8-1); Race 10: Grande Basin (6-1); Race 11: Juno’s Starlet (8-1).


Defending training champ Brad Cox (52) is five wins ahead of Joe Sharp (47), but only he has two horses entered on the closing day program. Sharp, who is represented by seven entrants, is still mathematically alive.


Brad Cox (52)

Saturday, March 31

Race 3: Le Pin (Ire.) (8-5); Race 6: Timuquana Place (9-2)


Joe Sharp (47)

Saturday, March 31

Race 1: Cool Arrow (5-2); Race 2: Lady Soul (4-1); Race 3: Little Sarge (4-1); Race 6: Hard Headed Woman (9-2); Race 7: Zero Gravity (8-1) and Move It Man (8-1); Race 9: Svindahl (6-1)


In the owner’s race, Maggi Moss (12), who last won a title at Fair Grounds in 2014-15, enters Saturday with a two-win lead over Brad Grady (10) and End Zone Athletics (10). She has one horse entered today, while Grady has five, and End Zone Athletics has two. Midwest Thoroughbreds (11) has no horses entered on closing day.


Maggi Moss (12)

Saturday March 31

Race 1: St. Louie Guy (8-5)


Brad Grady (10)

Saturday, March 31

Race 1: Cool Arrow (5-2); Race 2: Lady Soul (4-1); Race 3: Little Sarge (4-1); Race 6: Hard Headed Woman (9-2);  Race 7: Move It Man (8-1)


End Zone Athletics (10)

Saturday, March 31

Race 5: The Imposter (3-1); Race 8: Sea Vow (3-1)