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Calhoun Hopeful for Euroears of Old in Thanksgiving Handicap
Two seasons ago at Fair Grounds, James and Marilyn Helzer’s Euroears won the $100,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial in January on the main track, the $100,000 Colonel Power in February over the Stall-Wilson turf course and the $200,000 Duncan Kenner Stakes in March after switching back to the dirt.
That incredible stakes run left the undefeated Euroears with six straight wins before he suffered a series of setbacks that kept him from returning to the winner’s circle until his 10th and most recent start in an allowance race at Hoosier Park Oct. 15.
“Euroears is doing great and we’re hopeful he’s back to where he was when he won six straight,” said trainer Bret Calhoun during training hours Friday morning at Fair Grounds. “When I ran him over that soft turf course last summer (in Penn National’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap Aug. 1) he really didn’t get much out of the race, so he wasn’t fit for the next one. But then we found that race at Hoosier for him, so I think his confidence is back now. He’s beginning to look like his old self again. We’re hoping to see that return to form in (Thursday’s 84th running of) the Thanksgiving Handicap.”
Calhoun, who was runner-up to last season’s Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Steve Asmussen in the Fair Grounds leading trainer standings, was also in second place at the current meeting entering Friday’s races and was asked about some of the other horses under his care, including Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Doctor Brasch, one of 15 nominees to Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes on Nov. 28.
“I don’t know whether we’ll run (Doctor Brasch) in there or not,” said Calhoun. “I just got this horse and I don’t really know a whole lot about him, yet. I’ll take a look at the (Woodchopper) field and then decide what we’re going to do.”
Calhoun had entered Mark Toothacher and Everette Young Jr.’s Dove Shot in Saturday’s prep for the upcoming $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, but has changed his mind about that.
“She got sick,” said Calhoun. “We just scoped her and found a whole bunch of mucus up there,” said Calhoun. “She won’t be running Saturday.”
Also in the news this week was the retirement of the Cahoun-trained Mr. Nightlinger, owned by Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management.
“He was a warrior,” said Calhoun of the 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, who earned $644,355 in his career and won the $150,000 Arlington Sprint in the summer of 2008 and Pimlico’s $100,000 Turf Sprint on Preakness Day last spring. “He was one of the toughest horses I ever had, but he had a lot of problems. That’s why we turned him into a grass sprinter. He was capable of going a distance of ground but we trained him a little differently because he has so many problems. We didn’t want to take any more chances with him so we just went ahead and retired him.”
Star Guitar Drills Friday
Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar, winner of the 2008 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile and the 2009 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint and Dixie Poker Ace Stakes, breezed a half-mile in 49.20 Friday at about 9:45 a.m. with jockey Curt Bourque in the irons in preparation for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic on Dec. 12.
“We got what we wanted,” said trainer Al Stall Jr. as Star Guitar galloped out. “Star Guitar is who he is. He pretty much trains himself. I just try to stay out of his way.”
Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Tend is one of 14 nominees to the 84th running of next Thursday’s traditional $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap and is also trained by Stall.
“We’ll enter here but we’re also considering the ($100,000) Delta Mile Stakes on Dec. 4,” said Stall. “We haven’t decided for sure yet.”