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Grand Slam Andre Heads Saturday's Black Gold

Kirk Robison’s Grand Slam Andre, a multiple stakes winner on the main track but unstarted on grass, has been installed as the strong 7-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s traditional $60,000 Black Gold Stakes for 3-year-olds, scheduled for about 5 1/2-furlongs over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.

The Black Gold is observing its 52nd renewal after being named in honor of the first of two Louisiana Derby winners that went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby. Black Gold accomplished the double in 1924, 72 years before Grindstone equaled the feat in 1996.

Grand Slam Andre, conditioned by defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, comes into the Black Gold off a win in Sunland’s $107,000 Riley Allison Futurity Dec. 29. Earlier last year, the son of Grand Slam won Lone Star Park’s $67,000 Middleground Stakes in July and Remington’s $50,000 Clever Trevor in August before finishing sixth in Saratoga’s Grade I Hopeful in September. Shane Sellers, who has ridden the colt twice in stakes company, returns in the saddle on Saturday.

Peter Redekop’s Comedero, second choice in the Black Gold morning line at 5-2, disappointed as the favorite in Remington’s $200,000 Springboard Mile in his last start Dec. 13 but was undefeated before that, including a pair of stakes victories in Fair Grounds’ $56,000 Old Hickory Nov. 7 and Louisiana Downs’ $50,000 Razorback Futurity Oct. 3. Brian Hernandez Jr. gets the mount.

Completing the Black Gold field is L T B Inc. et al’s Vito Filitto, Pat Valenzuela aboard; Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Saluting Stormye, Shaun Bridgmohan; and Richard Rudolph’s Royal Express, James Graham up.