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Friesan Fire Breezes Five-Eighths Monday at Fair Grounds

Headlines for Monday, March 02, 2009

  • Friesan Fire Breezes Five-Eighths Monday at Fair Grounds
  • Louisiana Derby Attracts 105 Nominations
  • Mineshaft Hero Honest Man Tops New Orleans Handicap Nominations
  • Mervin Muniz Memorial Again Attracts Top Turf Runners
  • Fair Grounds Oaks Gets 13 Nominations
  • Duncan F. Kenner Stakes, Bienville Stakes Nominations Released


Friesan Fire Breezes Five-Eighths Monday at Fair Grounds

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire, twice a winner in Grade III competition at Fair Grounds this winter, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 here Monday morning in preparation for the 96th running of the $600,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby March 14.

Regular rider Gabriel Saez, who rode Friesan Fire to victory in both the Grade III $100,000 Lecomte Stakes Jan. 10 and the Grade III $200,000 Risen Star Stakes Feb. 7, was aboard the Larry Jones trainee for Monday's breeze. He is scheduled to retain the mount for the  Louisiana Derby.

Another Louisiana Derby probable starter - Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner's Uno Mas - was also on Monday's work tab with a six-furlong breeze in 1:14.80.  Uno Mas, conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, ran third in the Risen Star and fourth in the Lecomte and is expected to be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan in the Louisiana Derby.

Zayat Stables' Soul Warrior, still a possibility for the Louisiana Derby and another sophomore from the barn of Asmussen, was also clocked in 1:14.80 during his six-furlong breeze on Monday.

Louisiana Derby Attracts 105 Nominations

Friesan Fire, Flying Pegasus, Uno Mas, Nowhere to Hide, Giant Oak and Soul Warrior, the top six finishers in the Risen Star Stakes, are among 105 sophomores on the final nominations list for the $600,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby March 14.

Ninety-three horses were early bird nominations for the Derby, which provided free nominations to both of Fair Grounds' Grade III prep races, the Lecomte and Risen Star.  An additional 12 horses were nominated before Saturday's deadline.

Mineshaft Hero Honest Man Tops New Orleans Handicap Nominations

Fox Hill Farms' Honest Man, 4 1/4 lengths the best in Fair Grounds' Grade III Mineshaft Handicap on Feb. 7 as the final major local prep for the upcoming Grade II $500,000 New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day March 14, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 Monday morning at the Crescent City oval.

James and Alice Sapara's Good and Lucky, Louie Roussel III's Brothers Nicholas, B. Wayne Hughes' My Pal Charlie and Sand & See Stables' Secret Getaway, who finished second through fifth, respectively, behind Honest Man in the Mineshaft, are expected to oppose Honest Man once again on the second Saturday in March.

Others considered likely at this time for the New Orleans Handicap at nine furlongs on the main track include Edmund Gann's It's a Bird and Carol Nyren's Dry Martini, the 1-2 finishers in the Sunshine Millions Classic; Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust's Golden Yank, second in the Oaklawn's Essex Handicap; West Point Thoroughbreds' Macho Again, a Grade II winner last summer; Brittlyn Stable's Star Guitar, a winner of his last four straight in restricted Louisiana-bred competition;  and Joseph Lacombe Stable's Slew's Tiznow, 12th in Santa Anita's Grade II Strub.

All told, five graded stakes winners are considered probable for the New Orleans Handicap.

Mervin Muniz Memorial Again Attracts Top Turf Runners

No horse in history has ever won back-to-back runnings of the Grade II Mervin H. Muniz Jr.  Memorial Handicap, but the German-bred Proudinsky, now owned by Johnanna Louise Glen-Tavern, is expected to try to accomplish that feat on Louisiana Derby Day March 14.

Proudinsky has not raced since winning the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap on Dec. 28 at Santa Anita.

Among those expected to oppose Proudinsky will be the first four finishers in last month's Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap, the final local prep for the Mervin Muniz: Charlotte Musgrave's Diamond Tycoon, Sam-Son Farms' Windward Islands, Team Block and William Farish's Corrupt and Fritz McTarnahan's Argentine-bred My Happiness.

Others likely for the Muniz Memorial include Sam-Son Farms' French Beret, sixth in the Fair Grounds Handicap but winner of the Grade III Col. E.R. Bradley here before that; Turtle Bird Stable's Sir Whimsey, winner of the Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap last year and most recently fifth in this year's Grade I Donn Handicap, also at Gulfstream; and Herman Heinlein's Soldier's Dancer, winner of this year's Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita.

Headed by Proudinsky, the probable field for the Muniz includes seven graded stakes winners.

Fair Grounds Oaks Gets 13 Nominations

L and M Partners' Rachel Alexandra, eight-length heroine of Oaklawn's $50,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 15 and a 4 3/4-length winner in Churchill's Grade II Golden Rod last November, looms as the headline attraction among 13 nominations for the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks March 14.

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Four Gifts, second in Fair Grounds' Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes Feb. 7 and third in the $75,000 Tiffany Lass here Jan. 10, is the other probable starter with a graded stakes win. She captured the Grade III Delta Princess in December.

 Ann Lorenson Lynch's War Tigress, fifth in the Silverbulletday but winner of Churchill's $56,000 Caressing Stakes last November, is another sophomore filly expected for the Fair Grounds Oaks; as are Mike Rutherford's Flying Spur, fourth in the Silverbulletday; and two of three Ken McPeek-trained nominees that include Susan McPeek's Best Lass, Steve Stan Stables' Striking Dancer and Michael and Lenora Paulson's Our Dahlia.

Duncan F. Kenner Stakes, Bienville Stakes Nominations Released

Edmund Gann's Ikigai and Vinery Stable and Fox Hill Farm's Kodiak Kowboy are both considered probable starters among 17 nominations for the $125,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at six furlongs on Louisiana Derby Day March 14.

Ikigai was most recently second by a half-length in Gulfstream's Grade II Richter Scale Feb. 14, but won Gulfstream's Grade III Mr. Prospector before that Jan. 17.

Kodiak Kowboy was fifth in his last trip to the post Nov. 29 in Aqueduct's Grade I Cigar Mile, but scored a pair of graded stakes wins as a 3-year-old, including the Grade II Amsterdam at Saratoga.

Richard Davis' Storm Mesa, a Grade II winner who has not raced since October, and Winchell Thoroughbreds' Classify, who captured the $75,000 Leggio Memorial Jan. 10 and was second in the $75,000 Pan Zareta Feb. 7, head a list of 27 grass-favoring older fillies and mares nominated to the $75,000 Bienville Stakes at about 5 1/2 furlongs over the Stall-Wilson Turf course.