Home of the Louisiana Derby

Champions Day First Post Moved Up to 12:10 pm CST

Guests of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and fans of the New Orleans oval’s simulcast signal should note that this coming Saturday on Louisiana Champions Day there will be a special early first post of 12:10 p.m. Central Standard Time.

The first three races on Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day program will be stakes for American Quarter Horses. Ten races for Thoroughbreds will be run, including eight stakes.

Also, although Fair Grounds’ regular Saturday post time will remain at 12:40 p.m. for its 2010-2011 meeting, an early first post time of 12:10 p.m. will also be in effect on Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Lecomte Stakes Day) on Jan 22, Louisiana Derby Preview Day (Risen Star Day) on Feb. 19, and Louisiana Derby Day on March 26.

KITTY LOVE ‘FINE’ FOLLOWING DISAPPOINTING PAGO HOP RUN – Augustin Stable’s Kitty Love, who failed to fire in Saturday’s 25th anniversary edition of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes as the 9-5 choice in the wagering, came out of her race without incident and was doing well Sunday morning.

“I think she’s fine,” said her Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, reached by phone on Sunday morning following his brief visit to New Orleans. “I think it (her disappointing run) was my mistake. I told the pilot (jockey Rosie Napravnik) that I wanted her laying a little closer to the pace, so she tried to save ground along the inside and that probably wasn’t the place to be. I should have let her get settled and then come along late with a run outside the leaders in the middle of the track. That’s what the winner (Darrell and Lendy Brown’s Valli With a Vow) did. My filly came out OK. That’s the important thing.”

SATURDAY’S TWO STAKES WINNERS BOTH DOING WELL SUNDAY – Pin Oak Stable’s Strike Again, winner of Saturday’s fifth running of the $60,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap, and Darrell and Lendy Brown’s Valli With a Vow, heroine of the $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes later in the afternoon, both came out of their races in good order and were doing well Sunday morning according to their respective connections, Pin Oak trainer Malcolm Pierce and Valli With a Vow’s assistant trainer Ruth Schmidt.

Coincidentally, both Pierce and Schmidt are based at Woodbine in Canada and both are stabled once again in Barn 20 this winter this winter at Fair Grounds.    

Following Woodbine’s closing day (Dec. 5) Pierce will be joined his wife Sally (also his exercise rider), who will be driving to Fair Grounds from north of the border, and Schmidt reports that her employer, trainer Josie Carroll, will also shortly be headed south to Fair Grounds from Woodbine.

JOCKEY JOHN JACINTO RECOVERING IN GOOD SPIRITS – Veteran jockey John Jacinto, who was off to a good start at Fair Grounds this season before suffering a broken wrist when unseated from a horse during training hours Thursday morning, remains in his usual positive spirits despite his second setback locally in the last two years while in the midst of a hot streak.

“It’s OK,” said Jacinto when asked about the mishap Saturday after the races. “These things happen. It’s part of the business. They tell me I’ll be ready to ride again in four to six weeks.”

Jacinto suffered a broken collarbone at Fair Grounds while in the midst of a hot streak two years ago.