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Jody Slew Preparing for March 26 Fair Grounds Oaks

Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Jody Slew surprised just about everybody – including her connections – when she won Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes Jan. 23 at better than 20-1.  

Then she came back in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes February 20, still lightly regarded in the wagering, and was so far back behind a horse loose on the lead that even trainer Bret Calhoun admitted to thinking the race was over. And as for jockey Miguel Mena, he guided the filly’s dramatic closing rush to the wire in the Silverbulletday but was pretty sure they didn’t get there in time to win the photo.

But perhaps the biggest Doubting Thomas of all concerning Jody Slew was owner Bill Martin, who now cheerfully admits he bought her because he thought she might turn out to be a good grass filly.

“I was looking to buy a grass filly and I saw her running in a grass race at Churchill last fall (the $60,000 Caressing Handicap Nov. 28) and I thought she ran a very impressive race,” said Martin, speaking over the phone from his Dallas home. “As it turned out, she didn’t win that race but I thought she was the best horse in there. She had all kinds of trouble and she was kept wide all the way and she still finished third beaten less than three lengths.  

“However, grass races for 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds are hard to find,” said Martin. “We were looking around for a race for her and as it turned out the Tiffany Lass just fit our schedule. I said ‘let’s put her in there and see what happens.’”  

What has happened is that Jody Slew is now in a position to become the first filly in Fair Grounds history to sweep the local sophomore series should she win the Fair Grounds Oaks. Three colts – most recently Friesan Fire last year and Dixieland Heat and Line In The Sand in the early ’90s – have swept the Lecomte, Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby, but no female has accomplished that similar feat in the filly division.

“I read that somewhere, but I wasn’t sure I believed it,” said Martin, 61, who is in the real estate business and has owned horses since the ‘70s. “I would have thought someone would have done it before.”

Told that four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks, and that in past seasons, shippers from larger outfits based in the East or coming from the West Coast often come in to take down the Fair Grounds Oaks with one of that year’s monster fillies, Martin said, “I guess we’ll just have to hope there are no ‘monster fillies’ out there this year.”

Martin was then asked, What about Jody Slew’s grass racing career?

“I’m sure that we’ll try her on the grass somewhere along the way,” said Martin, “but I have to admit that lately we’ve not been talking about that as much as we did before.”

Martin Racing Stable (“my wife Stevie makes up the other have of Martin Racing”), incidentally, raced another prominent member of the distaff set in partnership with Bantry Farms and Paula Capestro on the West Coast a few years ago.

That was River’s Prayer, heroine of Calder Race Course’s Grade I Princess Rooney Handicap in 2007, who also captured Santa Anita’s Grade III Las Cienegas Handicap that spring and concluded her career later that summer with a win in Del Mar’s Rancho Bernardo Handicap.

“She won almost a million dollars for us,” said Martin, “and then we sold her to Jess Jackson as a broodmare for a million and a half.”

Dan Morgan, the Martins’ partner with Jody Slew, lives in Orlando, Florida, and is in the concrete construction business, Martin said. “I met him through friends about 12 years ago at a 2-year-old sale. “We’ve usually had pretty good luck together,” said Martin, “and when something works for me I like to stick with it.”

Don MacBeth Memorial Fundraiser in Metairie March 16
A fundraiser dinner and dance on behalf of the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 16 at the Best Western Landmark Hotel in Metairie.

All proceeds benefit injured and disabled jockeys and exercise riders. Tickets are $25 per person, with reserved tables for 10 available for $250.

There will be a cash bar available at 6 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a live and silent auction, door prizes, a 50-50 Raffle and a dance contest, with live music by Harvey Jesus and Fire.

For tickets contact Rick Mocklin at (504) 382-9787, the Louisiana H.B.P.A. Backstretch Office or any Fair Grounds jockey.