Home of the Louisiana Derby

Friesan Fire Takes Louisiana 'Cap; El Caballo Wins Bradley

James Spence’s El Caballo, unraced since sustaining an injury last June, returned from that long layoff to win Saturday’s Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap while drawing off by 3 1/4-lengths under a confident ride by jockey Robby Albarado.

“It’s been a long time getting him back,” said El Caballo’s relieved conditioner Ralph Nicks while downplaying his masterful training job. “We just hoped he’d still be competitive. Of course it’s always a lot easier to do that when you’re dealing with an athlete.”

One race later, Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farms’ Friesan Fire did much the same thing in the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap – in his case return from a layoff since last spring’s Preakness to run third in a December tune-up here and then win Saturday’s Louisiana ‘Cap by 1 3 /4-lengths.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen of Friesan Fire. “For the company we want this year he’s going to need to get better but I think that will go a long way in his confidence. He’s in training to win a Grade I.”

In the Col. Bradley, El Caballo, who lost by a nose when second to the Bobby Frankel-trained Proudinsky in last winter’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial, paid mutuels of $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60 as the 17-10 favorite, accomplished the about 1 1/16-mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:46.26 and increased his career earnings to $357,075 with his sixth victory from 14 lifetime starts.

In the Louisiana Handicap, Freisan Fire, who won last season’s Grade II Louisiana Derby after previous scores in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star and Grade III Lecomte, paid mutuels of $5.80, $3.80 and $2.40 as the slight 19-10 favorite. He increased his career earnings to $653,765 with his fifth career win from 11 lifetime starts, and set early fractions of 24.64 and 48.44 before tripping the final timer in 1:43.39.

Finishing second in the Col. Bradley was Get Rich Quick, who paid $8.40 and $4.20 while 1 1/4-lengths farther back was Vanquisher, who returned $4. Tend set early splits of 24.10 and 49.67 before tiring to sixth.

Finishing second in the Louisiana Handicap was last spring’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes winner General Quarters. He returned $3.80 and $2.40 while 7 1/2-lengths farther back was Good and Lucky, who paid $2.40 in the show position.

In Saturday’s $75,000 Dr. A. B. Leggio Memorial Stakes for filly and mare sprinters on turf, California invader Annihilation, owned by Alex Solis Jr., and trained by Dan Hendricks, rallied late under jockey James Graham to win the about 5 1/2 -furlong dash over the Stall-Wilson turf course by a length while getting the distance in 1:04.94. She paid $12.80, $6 and $3.80 and increased her career earnings to $180,280 with her fourth win from 12 starts.

Finishing second in the Leggio was Coy Cat, who paid $4.80 and $3.60 while a head farther back in third was Simplify, who returned $5.20. Lady Chace made the early fractions of 23.00 and 46.62 before weakening to fourth in the final furlong.

In Saturday’s $75,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes for older sprinters, Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Cash Refund, quickly in command but pressed most of the way by favored Euroears, put that rival away in mid-stretch and drew off for a dominant 2 1/2-length win.

In winning his fourth race from five lifetime starts, Cash Refund increased his career earnings to $150,360, paid mutuels of $6.60 $4.20 and $3.40, and set early fractions of 21.20 and 44.13 before touring the three-quarter mile distance in 1:09.56 under a well-judged ride by Brian Hernandez Jr.

Savorthetime Stables’ Sok Sok rallied late to gain the place, paying $6 and $4.60 while three-quarters of a length in front of Grand Traverse, who returned $6.20.