Friday Notes: Decisive Moment to Join Risen Star Fray
Just For Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment, who won Delta Downs’ $250,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes by 3 1/2-lengths at last asking Jan. 14, will be coming to Fair Grounds to contest the Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 19, trainer Juan Arias said Friday morning while speaking over the phone from Calder Race Course.
The Risen Star Stakes, named after the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner, serves as Fair Grounds’ final designed major prep for the $1 million Grade II Louisiana Derby, to be contested five weeks later on March 26.
Decisive Moment was credited with a bullet handy five furlong move in 1:00.60 earlier Monday morning at Calder, one week after he was timed for a three-furlong move in 36.60 at the North Miami oval.
“He was galloping out the five furlongs this morning,” said Arias. “I got him going the half in 48. Last week he got the half in 49 and change. I think I’m going to give him one more work next Friday, and then put him on a van for Fair Grounds early the following Monday (Feb. 14). He should get to New Orleans that afternoon. I’ll give him Tuesday off, do things like school him in the paddock that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then roll the dice on Saturday.
“He has grown up a lot mentally in these recent weeks,” said Arias. “The thing we want to do now is make sure he keeps maturing the way he has been.’
Arias, was born in Panama City, Panama, 45 years ago and is a former jockey who rode from 1980 to 1990, switching his tack to the United States in 1981. He became an assistant trainer for Calder-based Richard Root for most of the ’90s and took out his own trainer’s license in 2001. He saddled Richard Rowen’s Renda to win Calder’s $90,000 Brave Raj Stakes in 2008 and then took her to California for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf that fall where she disappointed. However, she came to hand as a 3-year-old to finish second in Gulfstream’s Grade II Forward Gal and fourth in that winter’s Grade II Davona Dale.
“She was my best horse up to now,” said Arias, “but now I’ve got another good one.”
In the Jean Lafitte, when ridden by Fair Grounds-based Kerwin Clark, Decisive Moment broke in stride to make the pace and drew off in the final furlong with “something left,” according to the chart footnote. Previously, the Florida homebred had finished second in the western Louisiana oval’s Grade III Delta Jackpot last Nov. 20, also with the Lafayette, Louisiana native Clark aboard.
“It’s amazing how much a horse can change between his 2-year-old and 3-year-old seasons,” Clark said a few days after the Jean Lafitte. “He’s going to be a good one.”
APPRENTICE MICHAEL CALLAHAM WINS FIRST RACE MONDAY – Apprentice jockey Michael Callaham scored the first win of his career in Monday’s Fair Grounds opener aboard Wildcat Racing Stables’ Againstallides, lighting up the tote board with an $111.80 win price – third highest straight payoff of Fair Grounds’ 2010-2011 season.
Callaham, 21, born in Rough and Ready, California, began riding show horses and jumpers 15 years ago and spent a couple of years galloping horses in Ireland before returning to this country to gallop for trainer Steve Asmussen this winter. He accepted his first mount earlier in the meeting.
“They got me pretty good in the jock’s room after the race,” said Callaham later in the day Monday, referring to the traditional dousing ceremonies that accompany a bug rider’s initial trip to the winner’s circle. “I was excited to win my first race today and I hope to win many more.”
COREY LANERIE’S 3,000TH WIN THE FIRST OF THREE THURSDAY – Jockey Corey Lanerie, who won the 3,000th race of his career with his first mount of the day in Thursday’s third race, completed a riding triple later in the day by piloting William Butler et al’s Harmonizer to a one-length tally in the ninth race for trainer Mike Maker.
Lanerie, 36, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, scored win number 3,000 on Robert and Lawana Low’s Native Mambo for conditioner Steve Margolis and captured the fifth race aboard Sugarland Thoroughbreds’ My Cousins and Me for former jockey-turned trainer Ray Sibille.
Lanerie is nominated for the 2011 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, a one-time only award voted on by members of the Jockeys’ Guild to a rider who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct on and off the racetrack. The George Woolf Award was won last year by fellow Cajun jockey Calvin Borel, in 2006 by former jockey-turned trainer Mark Guidry, in 2005 by Sibille, and in 2004 by seven-time Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado. All are Louisiana natives from the Lafayette area.