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Friesan Fire Returns to Fair Grounds on Thursday
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire, hero of the Grade II Louisiana Derby last March and post time favorite for last spring’s Kentucky Derby, returns to the scene of his greatest triumph Thursday when he heads a field of six older horses in the $50,000 featured race of the day at Fair Grounds.
The 3-year-old son of A. P. Indy, only the third horse in local history to sweep the Lecomte, the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby – Fair Grounds’ big three races for sophomores – has been away from competition since last spring’s Preakness Stakes on May 16, where he bobbled at the start, flashed brief speed but quickly faded to finish 10th at the wire.
Friesan Fire will be returning under the care of his new conditioner Steve Asmussen, last year’s Eclipse Award-winning trainer as well as last season’s Fair Grounds leader. Trainer Larry Jones – now retired – guided Friesan Fire’s career through the Preakness. Shaun Bridgmohan is named in the irons Thursday when the colt faces older horses for the first time.
James and Alice Sapara’s Good and Lucky may be the one to beat. The 6-year-old gelding won last season’s $75,000 Louisiana Handicap and then ran second in last season’s Grade III Mineshaft Handicap. Good and Lucky, idle since a sixth-place finish in the Grade II Meadowlands Cup last Oct. 16, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 Saturday morning during training hours. Shane Sellers will handle the reins astride the Josie Carroll trainee.
First post Thursday is 1 p.m. CST with the featured eighth race set for 4:25 p.m. CST.
From the rail out, Thursday’s Fair Grounds feature consists of Friesan Fire with Bridgmohan up; Good and Lucky with Sellers aboard; Glamour Guy, Robby Albarado; Fancy Runner, Jesse Campbell; Willist, Jansen Melancon; and Coragil Cat, Corey Lanerie.