Jody Slew Still Possible for Friday's Fair Grounds Oaks

Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Jody Slew, winner of the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes Jan. 23 and the Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes Feb. 20, was still a possibility for Friday’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks as of Wednesday morning, according to trainer Bret Calhoun.

The 3-year-old daughter of Slew City Slew injured herself when cast in her stall a little over a week ago, missed her final scheduled work for the Oaks but has been improving day-by-day since that time.

“She seems a little better again today,” said Calhoun, “but I’d like to make a decision by tomorrow (Thursday) on whether she’s going to run or not. I really don’t want to have to drag it out until race day (Friday).”

Should she run in the Fair Grounds Oaks and win it, Jody Slew would become the first horse in Fair Grounds history to sweep the local sophomore filly series.

Rachel Alexandra Gallops Again Wednesday with Next Scheduled Work Set for Monday
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who first appeared on the national racing writers’ radar last year after she won the 2009 Fair Grounds Oaks, had her usual routine gallop during training Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds, according to Fair Grounds clocker Mike Diliberto.

“They did not ask her to do too much today,” said Diliberto later in the morning. “As of right now, her next scheduled (official) work is to come Monday.”

Last year, Rachel Alexandra became the fourth of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners to go on and win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks later in the spring.

Also Wednesday morning, Louisiana Derby contender Island Soul, owned by Rachel Alexandra’s majority owner Stonestreet Stables and also trained by Steve Asmussen, breezed a half in 50.40.

Red Alert Day Not on Wednesday’s Flight from California
British-bred Red Alert Day, a Grade II Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap entrant conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, was not aboard Wednesday’s flight from California, according to stall superintendant Mario Torres.

Pletcher-Trained Quintet at Fair Grounds for Closing Weekend’s Graded Stakes
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who captured two graded stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20’s Louisiana Derby Preview Day, has sent a quintet of invaders to Fair Grounds for the New Orleans oval’s closing weekend graded affairs.

All five arrived without incident on a flight from South Florida Tuesday morning, and were sent to the track Wednesday during training hours. “We’ve had no problems so far,” said assistant trainer Michael Dilger.

Leading off the Pletcher string of starters will be Starlight Partners’ Ailalea, who has inherited the favorite’s mantle at 3-1 for Friday’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.

“She shipped well, and has been doing very well since she got here,” said the Irish-born Dilger of the filly who won Aqueduct’s Grade III Tempted Stakes last fall but finished sixth in Gulfstream’s Grade II Forward Gal in her only start this year Jan. 31. “She’s also been training very forwardly at Palm Meadows lately.”

Next up in the Pletcher-trained weekend line-up will be Overbrook Farm’s Battle Plan, the 6-1 fourth choice in morning line for Saturday’s Grade II New Orleans Handicap to be contested as the eighth race on Louisiana Derby Day.

“With him it’s all about pedigree,” said Dilger of the 5-year-old son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker out of the Seeking the Gold mare Flanders, winner of the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. “Obviously, as a 5-year-old with only four career starts, he’s had some problems along the way, but he’s a late developer with a pedigree on both sides that’s as good as it gets. He’s been training very well and has won his last three in a row.”

Anstu Stables’ Blues Street, winner of the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 20, will try and repeat that performance in Saturday’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap as the ninth race of the afternoon.

“He ran the best race of his life that day,” said Dilger of Blues Street’s performance in the Fair Grounds ’Cap, the designed prep for the Muniz Memorial with both races run on the Stall-Wilson turf. “He’s also won his last three in a row now and he’s been training very well at Palm Meadows. He seems to thrive at Palm Meadows.”

Saturday’s 10th race is the 97th running of the Grade II Louisiana Derby, which with its $750,000 purse will be the richest race ever run at Fair Grounds, and the Pletcher barn will be represented by E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Discreetly Mine as the 7-2 morning line favorite, as well as Twin Creeks’ Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible, tabbed at 8-1 in the early line.

“I don’t think Discreetly Mine needs to be in front like he was when he won that last race,” said Dilger, speaking of the Grade III Risen Star Stakes Feb. 20 as the designed Louisiana Derby prep. “He’s a very relaxed horse and you can do pretty much what you want with him.  

“As for Mission Impazable (fourth in Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes Feb. 20), that race just didn’t work out for us,” said Dilger. “First of all, he had to stay that extra week at Oaklawn (after weather forced the one-week postponement of this year’s running), and then he had a wide trip pretty much the whole way. He’s a nice horse and I think he deserves the chance to run in this race Saturday.”

Drosselmeyer Doing Well Wednesday
WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, fourth in the Risen Star Feb. 20 as the choice of the fans, also arrived back from South Florida’s Payson Park on Tuesday’s flight and was doing well Wednesday morning.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, the Distorted Humor colt went to the track Wednesday morning for training – once again under the watchful eye of Mott’s assistant Mike Kaetzel.

“I think only having three weeks between races last time (prior to the Risen Star) was a little rough on him,” said Kaetzel. “He’s a small horse and he looks better now than he did the last time he came in. He was much more on the bridle today than he was in the days before the Risen Star.”