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Friesan Fire's Barn Crew All Aglow Sunday Morning

Headlines for Sunday, March 15, 2009

  • Friesan Fire's Barn Crew All Aglow Sunday Morning
  • ‘Rachel, Rachel' Walking Road to ‘Oaks-Oaks' Double
  • Terrain Remains on Road to Kentucky Derby
  • Giant Oak Unlikely for Triple Crown Run
  • Macho Again Well After Win in New Orleans Handicap


Friesan Fire's Barn Crew All Aglow Sunday Morning

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Trainer Larry Jones was still at Oaklawn Sunday morning, but all three of the Jones boys who ran at Fair Grounds Saturday - including Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire - came out of their races well, according to Jones' wife and assistant trainer Cindy.

"All three horses are doing just fine today," Cindy Jones said. "They are all a little tired, but that to be expected.  They're all in good shape.  I just checked on Friesan Fire a little while ago, and he's so relaxed he looked like he was about to fall asleep standing on his feet."

In addition to Friesan Fire, who won the $600,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby by 7 1/4-lengths - the largest margin of victory in Fair Grounds' richest race since 1963 - Cindy Jones saddled Kodiak Kowboy to run second in Saturday's $125,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes and Honest Man to run eighth in the Grade II $500,000 New Orleans Handicap in her husband's absence.

"The only reason Honest Man didn't run his best race is because he didn't like the mud," Cindy Jones said. "He was just spinning is wheels out there.  I could see he was beat shortly after he started running and he came back with his bandages absolutely shredded.

"But Friesan Fire just loved it (the sloppy going) out there. Now we don't have to worry about what the weather is like on (Kentucky) Derby Day."

Ruben Munoz, agent for Friesan Fire's rider Gabriel Saez, was among those in the Jones barn's happy group Sunday morning, although his jockey was at Oaklawn for the day.

"Gabe was a little down when we first got here to Fair Grounds this winter because he wasn't getting many mounts," Munoz said.  "But I remember telling him, ‘I guarantee you that by the time we leave New Orleans this spring you'll have a smile on your face.  You trust Larry, don't you?  Larry will take care of us.'"

Friesan Fire opened at 22-1 in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Saturday, but at day's end had plummeted to 10-1 - Saturday's largest drop by any individual horse.


‘Rachel, Rachel' Walking Road to ‘Oaks-Oaks' Double

Rachel Alexandra, heroine of Saturday's $400,000 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, has an excellent chance to be the fourth of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners to go on to win the Kentucky Oaks.

However, there is little chance that she will become Queen of the Kentucky Derby.

  "That (speculation) makes good talk," Wiggins said Sunday morning, "but it's pretty much all media hype.  The Kentucky Oaks has been our goal from the beginning.  It would be an honor to win a Kentucky Oaks and (Rachel Alexandra's) owners have been leaning that way all along.  It's the height of a career for a 3-year-old filly, and these owners are pretty sensible guys.

"My assistant called me this morning from the road and said Rachel is already halfway home to Hot Springs," Wiggins said.  "He told me she cooled out well and ate up everything last night.

"I think we will do one of two things with her now," Wiggins said while driving through Lafayette, La., on his way to Houston to visit his grandchildren. "We'll either not run her again until the Kentucky Oaks (May 1) or we'll run her in the Fantasy (April 5 at Oaklawn) in three weeks and then go on to Louisville.  That would still give us (four) weeks before the Kentucky Oaks."


Terrain Remains on Road to Kentucky Derby

Adele Dilschneider's Terrain, third in Saturday's Grade II Louisiana Derby, remains on course for a run in the May 2 Kentucky Derby.

"That was a nice comeback race for him (Saturday)," said trainer and New Orleans native Al Stall Jr. Sunday morning.  "He'd been off 99 days, including some down time, and I liked what I saw.  We'll be going on to Kentucky with him, and shoot for (Keeneland's) Blue Grass or Lexington Stakes with him."

Terrain, beaten a head for the runner-up spot in the Louisiana Derby, would have given Stall his third straight second place finish in Fair Grounds' showcase race had the horse been able to gain the place.  The Stall-trained Ketchikan was second in the 2007 renewal, and Stall also saddled My Pal Charlie to finish second last year.

Despite his close calls the last two years, Terrain would be Stall's first Kentucky Derby starter.


Giant Oak Unlikely for Triple Crown Run

Virginia Tarra Trust's Giant Oak, fourth in Saturday's $600,000 Louisiana Derby, is an unlikely traveler on the road to the Kentucky Derby, according to trainer Chris Block.

 "He made a run, but it wasn't a strong run," Block said Sunday morning of Saturday's effort by Giant Oak.  "I think the horse struggled with the race track, and I think the off track certainly played a lot into what happened to him yesterday, but we've had a stroke of bad luck once again with him this winter here, and we really didn't learn a lot about him.

"Right now, I just don't consider him a Kentucky Derby horse, and I'm not going to chase down that road and ruin a horse just to say I had a horse in the Kentucky Derby." 


Macho Again Well After Win in New Orleans Handicap

West Point Thoroughbreds' Macho Again, hero of Saturday's Grade II $500,000 New Orleans Handicap, came out of his race in good order, according to trainer Dallas Stewart.

 "He's always been a nice horse, and his win yesterday makes up for a lot of things," Stewart said.  "He could have run a little better in the Sunshine Millions (Classic) last time, but he needed a race before that and it just didn't work out for us.  I haven't even thought about what might be next for him."

 Macho Again went over the $1 million mark in career earnings with Saturday's win.