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Indygo Mountain May Only Miss a Few Days of Training


Headlines for Friday, December 19, 2008

  • Indygo Mountain May Only Miss a Few Days of Training
  • Another Big Day Thursday For Asmussen
  • Trainer Margolis Saddles First Fair Grounds Winner Thursday
  • Myboycharlie Goes in Woodchopper - Then to Stud in Australia
  • White Horse Winners Honored Louisiana Champions Day


Indygo Mountain May Only Miss a Few Days of Training

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Clarence Scharbauer Jr.'s highly regarded juvenile Indygo Mountain - scratched during the post parade of Thursday's much-anticipated allowance event for 2-year-olds at Fair Grounds - was standing comfortably in his stall Friday morning while trainer Bret Calhoun updated his colt's status.

"(Indygo Mountain) was fine yesterday morning," said Calhoun. "However, Jamie (jockey Theriot) thought he felt like he might be little ‘off' in the left hind while he warming up.  You don't want to take a chance with a horse like this, and when we brought him back to the barn we confirmed there was some heat in that area, like there might be an abscess forming.  Or he may just have kicked a wall in the stall or something like that.

"Anyway, he's doing a lot better today," said Calhoun.  "There's less heat back there, and we blocked it off and confirmed the problem was in his foot so we took the shoes off.

"We'll keep our eye on him for a couple of days, and if he seems okay we'll put the shoes back on and see how he's doing," the trainer added.  "In a best case scenario, he'll only miss a few days of training.  These kinds of things happen, but unfortunately they always seem to happen to the good ones."

Scharbauer, whose family won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Alysheba, spent $600,000 to acquire Indygo Mountain at the Keeneland September sale of 2007.  The colt broke his maiden in his most recent start at Churchill with an impressive 6 1/4-length tally Nov. 19.

The Scharbauer-Calhoun team also has a gray juvenile colt named Silver City in the barn who has won his last two straight starts in Kentucky.  That son of Unbridled's Song was a $700,000 purchase out of that same Keeneland sale, and is expected to make his local debut shortly.


Another Big Day Thursday For Asmussen

When Steve Asmussen won his 556th race of 2008 on Nov. 23 to break his own record for North American training wins in a year, he was asked about reaching the 600-win mark.  His response? "Five-ninety...maybe."

So much for predictions.  Thursday night at Delta Downs, Asmussen became the first North American conditioner to win 600 Thoroughbred races in a single year after saddling three winners at Fair Grounds earlier in the afternoon.

It didn't take long to add to his total on Friday, as Asmussen won the opener at Fair Grounds with Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tactical, then captured the sixth with another for Winchell, Talon.

Asmussen said the run to 600 began with a pair of stakes wins on the Delta Jackpot undercard Dec. 5 at Delta Downs. "We had a three-day span where we won 16 races," he said.  "We made a huge run."

Asmussen entered Thursday four wins shy of 600, but quickly cut the countdown in half with impressive performances by a pair of 2-year-olds - Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's filly East Breaks and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner's colt Uno Mas.

In a two-turn maiden race, East Breaks, sent off as the odds-on favorite in a field of nine juvenile fillies, drew off to win by eight lengths.

"She's a nice filly," Asmussen said.  "I thought she looked a lot better going long, and that's a good thing."

 A half-hour later, Uno Mas overtook the highly touted Freisan Fire to win a first-level allowance race.  The son of Macho Uno had broken his maiden at Fair Grounds on opening weekend.

 Asmussen said he will point Uno Mas, one of 93 early-bird nominations for the Louisiana Derby released this week, toward the Grade III $100,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 10.  Early-bird nominees are automatically nominated to both the Lecomte and the Grade III Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 7.

In Thursday's eighth race, Asmussen moved within one of the milestone when Coastal Racing's Stungbythestorm registered a 2 1/2-length score. About four hours later, Storm Trust captured the fifth race at Delta Downs for No. 600.

So now it's on to 610, or 620, or some other number that may become untouchable.

"It'll hang on the wall real pretty and we'll just stare at it," he said.


Trainer Margolis Saddles First Fair Grounds Winner Thursday

Trainer Steve Margolis saddled Cajun Beat to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint five years ago, but despite the Louisiana-flavored name of that champion, Margolis is stabling at Fair Grounds for the first time this winter.

Margolis saddled his first winner at Fair Grounds Thursday when Gold Square's Lady Chace captured the ninth race.

When Cajun Beat won the 2003 BC Sprint at Santa Anita, the win payoff was $47.60, and when Lady Chace captured Thursday's ninth, the straight mutuel was $41.

Is this a trainer to keep your eye on, or what?

Margolis, 45, was born in New York but has wintered in South Florida in recent seasons following a Kentucky campaign.

"I think our horses will fit very well here this winter," said Margolis Friday morning. "(Saturday), I'm going to run a 2-year-old named Northern Prince in the Sugar Bowl," said Margolis of Martin Cherry's Northern Afleet colt who is 12-1 in Saturday's morning line.

"We had to give him a little time after he broke his maiden at Churchill Nov. 8," said Margolis, "but he's been training good since we brought him back and we think he's got a future."

On Sunday, Margolis will saddle Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein's Tsunami Bertie in the third race of the day at 3-1 in the morning line.  "She was first under the wire in her last start, but got taken down," said Margolis, "so she's back in against maidens once again."


Myboycharlie Goes in Woodchopper - Then to Stud in Australia

Trainer Cody Autrey will showcase an interesting horse in Saturday' $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds when he saddles the slight 5-2 morning line favorite Myboycharlie.

The sophomore son of Danetime was bred in Ireland and won a Group I race in France as a 2-year-old before coming to the United States and winning his last start at Fair Grounds Dec. 5.

"I bought him overseas about three months ago to run in my name here until Jan. 1," said Autrey, "but after this race Saturday he'll be sent to Australia to begin stud duties there.  "We've missed a little time with him since I got him, but he's been training good since we brought him back."


White Horse Winners Honored Louisiana Champions Day

Nine heroic horsemen and women were honored in winner's circle ceremonies after the fourth race at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Champions Day last Saturday.

The group was honored for their actions on Aug. 28 in Vinton, La., when rescuing horses from a tragic barn fire and presented with awards by members of the Louisiana HBPA.

Randy Reeves, Kasey Smith, Jason Inbinette, Orlando Baldillez, Beau Smith, Larry Higgs, Todd Mallory, and Kelli and Alvin Smith Jr. were each recognized for their dedication and bravery while saving a number of the horses stabled there.