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Former Champions, Competitive Fields Permeate Louisiana Champions Day
Former champions and competitive fields permeate the 13 races that make up Saturday’s 20th anniversary edition of Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds.
Entries were taken Monday for the 11-race program of stakes races restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds that offers purses totaling $1.1 million. The day’s action includes three Quarter Horse stakes races followed by 10 Thoroughbred events, eight of which are six-figure stakes races.
Because of Saturday’s expanded program, a special early post time of 12:10 p.m. CST will inaugurate the showcase afternoon for accredited Louisiana-breds, with the Thoroughbred portion of the day following the three Quarter Horse sprints.
The richest race of the afternoon will be the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, which will be headed by Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar, seeking to defend his championship in the afternoon’s highlight with seven-time Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado in the irons. Two years ago, the Al Stall Jr.- trained “Star” won the 18th running of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, and three years ago captured the 17th running of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. To date, no horse in Champions Day history has ever won four Champions Day races.
Capable of providing strong competition for Star Guitar in the Classic is Heiligbrodt Racing’s Snug, who defeated Star Guitar in his last start Nov. 5 in the $100,000 Gold Cup at Delta Downs. Snug is pegged at 4-1 in the early Classic line and will have Gerard Melancon in the saddle.
Also in a position to win her fourth straight Louisiana Champions Day race is Jac Mac Stable’s Superior Storm, who will be defending her championship in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies after annexing that filly and mare fixture for its last two renewals. The daughter of Stormy Atlantic, trained by Richard Jackson, is the 6-5 morning line choice, and like Star Guitar, will have Robby Albarado aboard. She won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie in 2007.
Maggie Moss’s Little Polka Dot, a facile winner by 8 3/4-lengths in her last start at Delta Nov. 10, is the 3-1 second choice in the Ladies’ morning line with current leading rider Jamie Theriot up.
Also defending a Louisiana Champions Day title Saturday is Wachtel Stable, Brous Stable and Jerry D. Lee’s Desert Wheat, who finally won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf last year by four lengths after finishing second the previous year and third the year before that. Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Desert Wheat will be ridden by Corey Lanerie and is the tepid 2-1 choice in the early morning Turf line.
Steve Hartman’s Snakebite Kit, hero of Evangeline’s $98,000 Louisiana Showcase Turf last July 3, is the second choice in the Turf at 5-2. Rosie Napranik rides.
Two year olds take center stage in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile as the 11th race and earlier on the program in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie as the seventh event
Thomas Galvin’s Su Casa G Casa, who won in open company in Remington’s $50,000 Kip DeVille Stakes on Oct. 8, is the 2-1 morning line choice in the Juvenile while JRita Young Thoroughbreds’ Take Me Home Too, heroine of Louisiana Downs’ $50,000 Laurel Lane July 31, shoulders the favorite’s mantle at 5-2 in the Lassie.
Charles Fletcher’s My Star Run, a winner of his last four outings, is the 5-2 morning line choice in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, and Brittlyn Stable’s Good Human Bean is the lukewarm 3-1 choice in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint after winning her last start by 7 1/4 lengths.
James Hanna’s Grey Papillon is the strong 9-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Handicap Stakes based on his win in the $40,000 Louisiana Cup Starter Handicap on May 22 at Louisiana Downs.
Three straight Quarter Horse Stakes, all Grade 2 events, get Saturday’s program underway.