Fast Alex on New Orleans 'Cap Trail After Monday Win
Jim Tafel LLC’s Fast Alex has his connections thinking about the Grade II, $300,000 New Orleans Handicap in March after an impressive win in Monday’s feature, a $49,000 allowance for older horses at one mile and 70 yards over the Fair Grounds main track.
Despite slow fractions of :24.46, :48.80 and 1:13.83, Fast Alex closed steadily from near the back of the field to score by three-quarters of a length over William J. Butler et al’s Harmonizer. The winner, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred by Afleet Alex trained by Greg Geier and ridden by Robby Albarado, completed the distance in 1:43.08 to earn his third victory from seven lifetime starts and boost his earnings to $79,935.
Geier said that although the New Orleans Handicap would likely be Fast Alex’s primary goal for the season, the path for getting there remains undetermined.
“He’s still learning,” Geier said. “He’s a big boy right now and he hasn’t gotten it all together yet. Once he gets it all together hopefully he’ll be as good as we think he is. We’ll just play it by ear and see how he comes along. I know what we’ve got and we just want to get him to the next point. The New Orleans Handicap is probably our main goal.”
The three-race series for older horses that climaxes with the New Orleans Handicap also includes the $60,000 Louisiana Handicap on Jan. 22 and the Grade III, $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap on Feb. 19. Geier suggested the Louisiana ’Cap was unlikely for Fast Alex, in part because he already is pointing Tafel’s Tenacious Handicap winner Country Flavor to that spot.
Harmonizer, the betting favorite, could not outfinish the winner but also closed well to get second, 1 ¾ lengths to the good of Maggi Moss’s It Happened Again in a field of seven (Victory Notion scratched).
Fast Alex returned mutuels of $8.40, $4.20 and $2.60; Harmonizer paid $3 and $2.40; and It Happened Again was worth $4.20 to show.
Live racing resumes Thursday with a 10-race program starting at 12:40 p.m.