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Ailalea Favored in Friday's Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks

Starlight Partners’ Ailalea, clearly best in Aqueduct’s Grade III Tempted Stakes Nov. 7 in the final start of her juvenile campaign, has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning line choice in the wagering for Friday’s 44th running of the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, the showcase event for 3-year-old fillies each season at the Crescent City oval.

Run at a mile and a sixteenth, the Fair Grounds Oaks winner during four of the last five local seasons has gone on to win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks later in the spring.  A year ago, that string was extended by Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick’s Rachel Alexandra, who went on to Horse of the Year honors after winning both Oaks races at the beginning of her 2009 campaign.

Ailalea, conditioned by Todd Pletcher, finished sixth in her only start this winter in Gulfstream’s Grade II Forward Gal Stakes Jan. 31 but that was following her extensive layoff. Javier Castellano, who shipped in to ride the Pletcher trainees during Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 20 and posed in the winner’s circle astride two of those that day, will be aboard Ailalea.

Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper, second by a nose in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes Feb. 20, is the 7-2 morning line second choice in the Fair Grounds Oaks field. Trained by Dale Romans, Quiet Temper was fifth in the Tiffany Lass here Jan. 23 but won a $50,000 allowance optional claiming affair here Jan. 3 and was heroine of the Grade III Delta Princess at Delta Downs on Dec. 4. Defending rider champion Robby Albarado gets the mount.

Martin Racing Stable’s Jody Slew, who won both of the first two legs of Fair Grounds’ sophomore series by taking the $75,000 Tiffany Lass on Jan. 23 and the Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes Feb. 20, is the third choice in the morning line at 5-1. Although she could become the first filly in Fair Grounds to sweep the series by winning the Fair Grounds Oaks, her status for the filly fixture was in doubt earlier this week after she was cast in her stall less than a week ago and lost some training time. Regular rider Miguel Mena is listed astride the Bret Calhoun trainee once again. (Read the latest update on Jody Slew's status here).

Completing the Fair Grounds Oaks field, with respective riders and morning line odds, is Edward Evans’ Mambo Fever, David Cohen (6-1); Martin Cherry’s Visavis, Brian Hernandez Jr. (6-1); Southern Equine Stables’ Champagne d’Oro, John Jacinto (8-1); Charles Fipke’s  Seeking the Title, Kent Desormeaux (10-1); L. T. B. Inc. and Miles Childers’ Sheer Beauty, James Graham (15-1); Red Oak Stable’s Shezacrazygirl, Pat Valenzuela (15-1); Millennium Farms’ Camille’s Appeal, Shaun Bridgmohan (20-1); and Northpointe Thoroughbreds’ The Rumor’s True, Richard Eramia (30-1).   

Tizaqueena Strong Favorite for Friday’s $100,000 Bayou Handicap
Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena, heroine of Churchill’s Grade II Distaff Turf Mile on Kentucky Derby Day last spring and most recently winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial Feb. 27, has been tabbed the strong 9-5 choice in Friday’s $100,000 41st renewal of the Bayou Handicap at about nine furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course. Leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan will handle the reins on the Mike Stidham trainee.

Named to oppose Tizaqueena, with respective jockeys and morning line odds, are: Team Block’s Never Retreat, James Graham (3-1); James Perron Racing Stable’s Category Seven, Richard Eramia (9-2); Philip Maas’ A She’s Adorable, Brian Hernandez Jr. (5-1); Lucas Downs’ Love to Tell, Shane Sellers (10-1); Good Tyme Racing and Richard Ringo’s Dancin Perfect, Francisco Torres (10-1); Virginia Tarra’s Apple Martini, John Jacinto (15-1); Richard Kaster’s Favorite Fantasy, Kris Fox (20-1) and Capilupi Racing’s Nicksappealinglady, Miguel Mena (20-1).

Coy Cat, West Ocean Vie in Friday’s $60,000 Bienville Stakes
Jay Em Ess Stable’s Coy Cat, twice stakes-placed at Fair Grounds this winter, and Werthheimer et Frere’s West Ocean, runner-up in Gulfstream’s Ladies Turf Sprint Feb. 21, are the first and second choice in the morning line at 3-1 and 7-2, respectively, for Friday’s $60,000 Bienville Stakes for fillies and mares at five and a half furlongs over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course

Robby Albarado gets the riding assignment on Coy Cat while Javier Castellano is slated for the saddle on West Ocean.

Completing the Bienville field with respective jockeys and morning line odds is Martin Cherry’s Northern Belle, Brian Hernandez Jr. (9-2); Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Selva, Miguel Mena (6-1); Dream Walkin Farms’ Seeking Ms Shelley, Francisco Torres (8-1); Southern Equine Stable’s Elle a Gent, John Jacinto (10-1); L. T. B. Inc. and Hillerich Racing’s More of the Best, Pat Valenzuela (12-1);  Media Thoroughbred Group’s Tears of Jupiter, Curt Bourque (12-1); Bill and Denise Morrison’s Shutupanddance, Shane Sellers (12-1); Maynard Chatters Jr.’s Flawless Gold, Nathaniel Puello (12-1) and on the main-track only list Jimmy Morrow’s Octavia Blue, Jamie Theriot (12-1).

Shezacrazygirl Strong Choice for Friday’s $60,000 Crescent City Oaks
Red Oak Stable’s Shezacrazygirl has been installed as the 8-5 morning line choice for Friday’s $60,000 Crescent City Oaks for to accredited Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies and will have Robby Albarado up.

Others named are Charles Zacney and Edward Johnston’s Ladyzarbridge, John Jacinto (7-2); the Heiligbrodt Racing-owned triple entry of New Elite, Lunar Fest and Mami Wata, Jamie Theriot, Shaun Bridgmohan and Brian Hernandez Jr. named respectively (9-2); Fred Currie’s Daphne Angela, E.J. Perrodin (6-1); Lee Young Farm’s Conscions Contact, Shane Sellers (8-1); Phyllis Hodges’ Classic Moccasin, James Graham (15-1); Sandra Duke’s Dreamsalive, Richard Eramia (15-1); Robert Orth and Wesley Hawley’s Nana Knows, Miguel Mena (15-1); and Dexan Stables’ Whooshoottoo, Corey Lanerie (15-1).