Home of the Louisiana Derby

Boulet Brings Enthusiastic Attitude To FG Racing

Headlines for November 11, 2008

  • Boulet Brings Enthusiastic Attitude to FG Racing
  • Other Opening Weekend Stakes Preview Champions Day
  • Cat Hop Should Help Halstrom Feel at Home Friday
  • Albarado a Leading Rider in Multiple Ways
  • Trainer Sam David Remembers Blushing K. D.


Boulet Brings Enthusiastic Attitude to FG Racing

NEW ORLEANS, La - Louisiana native Jason Boulet, named as Fair Grounds' racing secretary last summer, is eagerly anticipating the upcoming 87-day meeting which begins Friday and runs through March 29 - and his refreshing enthusiasm is highly contagious.

"Being named as Fair Grounds racing secretary is a dream come true for me," said Boulet. "I was born and raised in Lafayette, but I've been coming to Fair Grounds all my life because my family raced here in the wintertime when I was a boy. I've always considered New Orleans as my second home.

"Naturally, becoming the racing secretary at Fair Grounds has always been my ‘dream' job and now I'm getting the chance to live my dream. Also, the positive response I've gotten from the horsemen since I've arrived has only added to that dream."

A pre-Thanksgiving Day opening at Fair Grounds has not been orchestrated since 1979, and this season's earlier opening has allowed for the addition of several new stakes.  Three of those are scheduled for this weekend, with two of those carded for Friday's opening day program.

All three of this weekend's stakes honor prominent Thoroughbreds who raced at the Crescent City oval and have become significant pieces of local racing history.

"Recognizing the filly Blushing K. D. with a stakes race named on her behalf is an honor that was long overdue," said Boulet, speaking of Friday's $60,000 handicap for fillies and mares at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course.  "Her amazing local record during the early months of 1997 was only a prelude to the greatness she showed later in the spring."

Louisiana racing fans will remember how the precocious daughter of Blushing John drew off for a 20-length tally in the $30,000 Fair Grounds Sales Derby in early February of that year, came back later that month to take down winning honors in $100,000 Davona Dale (now run as the Silverbulletday Stakes) and concluded her New Orleans campaign by winning the Grade III Fair Grounds Oaks.

After shipping to Arkansas, she captured the Grade II Fantasy at Oaklawn Park in April and then won Churchill's Grade I Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May of that spring.  She was retired after winning the Grade II Monmouth Oaks later that summer.

"The horsemen's response to Friday's inaugural running of the Blushing K. D. has been extremely gratifying," said Boulet.  "Not only did we get a full field (14 horses entered), but it's a very competitive group.  It should be an excellent betting race because all the horses in there appear to be very well matched."

Other Opening Weekend Stakes Preview Champions Day

Serving as the co-feature on Friday's opening day program is the inaugural running of the $60,000 Si Cima Stakes for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.  The middle distance offering has been designed as a prep for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies, part of Fair Grounds Louisiana Champions Day program Dec. 13.

The Si Cima honors the multiple stakes winning Louisiana-bred mare who was also the first Thoroughbred ever owned by Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, and Mr. Benson and his wife Gayle will be in attendance Friday to present the Si Cima trophy to the owners of the winner.

On Saturday, the inaugural running of the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes will be contested at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course for 3-year-olds and up but is restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds.

The Mr. Sulu, named in honor of one of two horses to win the Louisiana Champions Day Turf three times, serves as a prep for this year's running of that race - also part of the Dec. 13 Louisiana Champions Day program.

Cat Hop Should Help Halstrom Feel at Home Friday

Eric Halstrom, Fair Grounds' newly appointed vice president and general manager of racing, comes to his new position after nine years at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., where he most recently served as vice president of racing and simulcasting operations.

However, one horse that is entered in Friday's $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap should be familiar to him from his past summer in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

That would be Stanley Seelig's Cat Hop, who captured the $93,000 Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes last Aug. 2 at Canterbury. Trained by Merrill Scherer at the time, Cat Hop shipped to Canterbury after winning for a $40,000 tag at Churchill July 2.

The daughter of Cat Thief will be saddled Friday by Patrick Mouton - Seelig's regular trainer on the Louisiana circuit - and ridden by Mouton's brother-in-law E.J. Perrodin.

Perrodin, seriously injured at Fair Grounds during a pre-race accident on the second day of racing last season, returned to riding last summer, and enters Friday's program five wins shy of the 3,000-win milestone.

Albarado a Leading Rider in Multiple Ways

Jockey Robby Albarado, who will be seeking to become the first jockey in modern Fair Grounds history to win seven local titles when he ships his tack here following the Churchill Downs meeting, is a leader in more ways than one.

Late last season, the 35-year-old Albarado, a Louisiana native, was the driving force behind a charitable crawfish boil held to offset the expenses incurred by fellow Louisiana-born jockey E. J. Perrodin during his long recovery from injuries sustained on the second day of last year's local season.

This Friday, the Robby Albarado Foundation, a charitable organization formed last year, will make its first donation, slated for the Louisville-based Coalition for the Homeless. The presentation will be made at the Louisville-Cincinnati football game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Trainer Sam David Remembers Blushing K. D.

Veteran trainer Sam David, who has stabled at Fair Grounds for many years, was the conditioner of Blushing K. D. during her banner sophomore season more than a decade ago.

"She was the best horse I ever had," said David, speaking over the phone during a brief vacation in Mexico last weekend.  "Someday, I hope to have another one like her.

"She had to be something special," David added.  "She had to overcome my training and Lonnie Meche's riding at the same time."

Meche, who was aboard Blushing K.D. for all 10 of her career starts, scored his biggest career win aboard the filly in the 1997 Kentucky Oaks.