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Archarcharch an Interesting Prospect for Sugar Bowl Stakes

Alphabetically, Archarcharch is at the top of the list of contestants for Saturday’s 60th anniversary edition of the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds.  
In the entries, the Robert Yagos-owned son of Arch is on the bottom, having drawn the outside post in the field of seven juveniles. However, in the morning line odds for the Sugar Bowl, Archarcharch is centered exactly in the middle at 5-1, with three horses projected above him and three others below, and that’s interesting – because Archarcharch is the only maiden in the field.

What exactly might the future hold for this youngster who, along with the rest of his class, will become a 3-year-old two weeks after the Sugar Bowl?

“We think he’s going to be a nice horse,” said trainer Jinks Fires Friday morning, who thinks enough of him to have personally hauled the horse down from his central Arkansas home base Thursday, leaving Oaklawn at about 7 o’clock in the morning and arriving in New Orleans shortly after 3 o’clock in the afternoon. “I’ve made that trip a whole lot of times over the years. Now, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump for me.

“He (Archarcharch) really didn’t have the best of trips in his only start at Churchill (Nov. 27),” said Fires. “He didn’t break that well, and then he really had to take up at the five-eighths pole just when he was starting to move. Still, even after that, he came on again to get second and I liked what he showed me when he did that.

“The reason I think he’s going to be a nice horse is that his works are way above average,” said Fires, speaking of three successive bullet moves at Churchill prior to his troubled career debut. “So far, he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do, and we think he’s going to be a nice one.  At least we hope so.”

Owner Yagos and trainer Fires have combined to beat the odds before. Three and a half years ago, Fires saddled Spotsgone for Yagos to win Arlington’s Grade III Hanshin Cup, and that horse – ridden by Fires’ Hall of Fame jockey brother Earlie Fires, paid $163 to win.

Interestingly, on Saturday, Archarcharch will be ridden by jockey Jon Court, the trainer’s son-in-law.

CONDITIONER CALHOUN HOPES TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING – Trainer Bret Calhoun, now a New Orleans resident, began the month of November by saddling the winners of two Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs, began the month of December by being presented with a proclamation honoring that feat by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and by the middle of the month led all trainers nationally in winners for the past week with eight, and in earnings over that time with $306,629.

On this weekend’s Santa Super Saturday at Fair Grounds, featuring a grouping of five $60,000 stakes races one week before Christmas, Calhoun will be the guest speaker at a Horse Ownership Seminar at Fair Grounds in the morning on the second floor of the Derby Building, and then saddle horses in the paddock for two of the five stakes races during the afternoon.

One of those, Richard Davis’s Unbridled Praise, won Monmouth’s prestigious Sorority Stakes last summer on the Jersey Shore, and will run in Saturday’s 51st renewal of the $60,000 Letellier Memorial for 2-year-old fillies.

“She looks like she’s going to be a nice filly for us,” said Calhoun as he watched the daughter of Songandaprayer school in the paddock before Thursday’s first race, “and this race Saturday looks like the right spot for her.”

Davis’s Greeley’s Rocket, Calhoun’s representative in Saturday’s $60,000 Esplanade Stakes for fillies and mares at about 5 1/2-furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course, will be returning to the grass after two disappointing outings on the main track.  The sophomore daughter of Mr. Greeley won Monmouth Park’s Crank It Up Stakes by 4 1/4-lengths last summer over the New Jersey lawn.

TRAINER MARGOLIS WELL REPRESENTED ON SANTA SUPER SATURDAY – Trainer Steve Margolis, who has made a monstrous impact at Fair Grounds since switching his base of operations from Gulfstream Park two years ago, saddled Cool Bullet to win last year’s Sugar Bowl Stakes on Santa Super Saturday. On Saturday, the son of Red Bullet owned by Robert and Lawana Low and Winmore LLC will make the first start of his career on grass in the $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes for older horses at about 5 1/2 furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

“He ran well on synthetic,” said Margolis, speaking of Cool Bullet’s 4 1/2-length victory in Turfway’s $50,000 Hansel Stakes last March. “He may like the grass as well. I liked his race in the Thanksgiving Handicap. I thought he gave a good showing, and in (Churchill’s) Jimmy V Stakes, he had a lot of trouble and they ended up running that race in a faster time than they ran the (Grade I) Breeders’ Cup Sprint the next day.”

Jake Ballis’s Cheyann Belief, Margolis’s starter in Saturday’s Sugar Bowl Stakes, is undefeated in two career starts and has been pegged as the 5-2 morning line favorite.  

“He showed a lot of grit in that last win after such a long layoff,” said Margolis. “We’ll see if he can step up once again on Saturday. I don’t think we’ll try stretching him out at this time, like we tried with Cool Bullet. I think we’ll keep this horse sprinting for awhile.”