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Louisiana Champions Day Notes & Quotes

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY NOTES & QUOTES

 

Quarter Horse Juvenile

Winner: Martini Mountain ($7.40, running time :18.03)

Jockey Danny Lavergne: "He was leaning against the gate. I tried to get him off, but when we broke, he slipped a little. By the third time he hit the ground, he was gone."

Notes: Lavergne won this race in 2006 on Oh So Daunting, his only other Champions Day win before today ... Trainer Paul Rigdon scored his first Champions Day victory.

Quarter Horse Derby

Winner: Mon Ti Rose ($10.60, running time :20.51)

Jockey J.R. Ramirez: "She is not a great breaker. When she does break well, she keeps going. She gets better with distance."

Notes: Trainer Frank Cavazos and Ramirez each won his first-ever Champions Day race.

Quarter Horse Classic

Winner: McM Dozen Dasher ($7.60, running time :22.42)

Jockey Jarrod Deschamp: "He broke in front. I tried to restrain him the first 100 yards. When I hit him with my left stick, he went on."

Notes: Trainer Heath Taylor ranks second nationally in wins and earnings this season ... For Taylor, it is his third Champions Day win and his second Classic win in three years (2006 with Toastin Dash) ... Deschamp won his first Champions Day race; he has been aboard McM Dozen Dasher for his last three starts, all wins ... McM Dozen Dasher won the Mid-City Stakes at Fair Grounds' inaugural Quarter Horse meet in August.

Starter

Winner: Mr. Porter ($4.60, running time 1:46.49)

Trainer Sturges Ducoing: "We thought we could get the distance with this horse for this race. He's been a close second by necks and heads and half-lengths, but today we found a softer field we thought he could handle."

Jockey Pat Valenzuela (on objection/inquiry): "I was clear. I left Francisco (Torres, jockey aboard Zenato) room on the inside. Sturges had him plenty ready to go for this race."

Notes: Ducoing won his first Champions Day race since the inaugural Juvenile in 1991 with Subtle Ice ... It was Valenzuela's first career Champions Day mount and win ... Owner Harris Hughey, a lawyer from Argyle, Texas, not only scored his first Champions Day win, but his first-ever stakes win.

Ladies Sprint

Winner: Coach Mike ($5, running time 1:10.66)

Trainer Tony Richey: "She looked like she might be laboring a little in the stretch, but she was so determined."

Jockey John Jacinto: "When I got her past the 1 (Sax Appeal), she just took off. She showed tremendous heart today."

Owner/Breeder Firal Ryder: "I still have the mare (Smart Lady) and we have a full sister to Coach Mike on the ground."

Notes: Jacinto won this race for the second consecutive year; he was aboard Carl's Frosty Girl last year ... Richey won his first-ever Champions Day race ... The third running of this event produced a stakes record by .01; Carl's Frosty Girl covered the six furlongs in 1:10.67 last year ... Owner/breeder Firal Ryder's Ryder River Ridge Farm, who won the 1994 Champions Day Juvenile with Toolighttoquit, is located in Natchitoches, La. ... The horse is named after Mike McConathy, the men's basketball coach at Northwestern State University, who just became the second men's coach in Louisiana collegiate history to reach 500 career wins.

Juvenile

Winner: Break Up ($138.40, running time 1:12.02)

Jockey Corey Lanerie: "I wanted to stay patient. I thought the pace would be fast. At the 5/16ths pole, I was picking off a few horses. At the eighth pole, I thought I could win it."

Notes: The highest-priced winner in Champions Day history was $165.40 - Rovar Sissie in the inaugural Quarter Horse Classic in 1991 ... Lanerie scored his fifth career Champions Day win and his second in the Juvenile (1999 with Early Goer) ... Trainer Brett Brinkman won for the first time on Champions Day.... Co-owner Walter "Buddy" New owned 2003 Louisiana Derby third-place finisher Lone Star Sky.

Ladies

Winner: Superior Storm ($4.60, running time 1:45.87)

Trainer Richard Jackson: "She's very special. She gives 100 percent every time she runs. I'm lucky to have her. I'm lucky any way you look at it. A horse and an owner like these two don't come along very often. It don't make any difference how much money you give for a horse; you just never know where a good horse is going to come from."

Jockey John Jacinto: "She lets me do what I want to do. I didn't want to get hooked. I wanted to relax and save ground. I knew we had the long stretch and I felt like she was the best filly in the race. She's something else. I'm just a passenger."

Notes: The win was Superior Storm's sixth in eight starts as a 3-year-old ... It is Jacinto's second win of the afternoon and fifth career Champions Day win, all in distaff races (two Ladies Sprint, two Lassie, one Ladies) ... Superior Storm won the Lassie a year ago ... It was the second Champions Day victory for Jack Dickerson's Jac Mac Stable and trainer Richard Jackson.

Lassie

Winner: Master Link ($12.40, running time 1:11.70)

Jockey Robby Albarado: "She's an exceptionally fast filly. She put herself where I anticipated her to be."

Trainer Morris Nicks (on strategy in the paddock): "Me and Robby have our own private instruction. It's called mental telepathy. Really, I just told him to get back here first."

Notes: Albarado won the Lassie for the first time; he now has wins in seven of the eight Thoroughbred races on Champions Day (all but the Ladies Sprint, which was inaugurated in 2006) ... It was Nicks' first career Champions Day win.

Turf

Winner: Wildrally ($15.20, running time 1:48.76)

Trainer Tom Amoss: "He has shown a lot of maturity as a 4-year-old. The time off did him some good today. The prep eight days ago made a big difference."

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.: "The way the course is coming back to you, I took back on him and tried to just get a clean trip. We've had a great meet. We're riding for the right people."

Notes: With his seventh career Champions Day win, Amoss tied Bobby Barnett and Donald Cormier for the most wins ever by a trainer ... It was, however, Amoss' first win in the Turf; he has three wins in the Classic, two in the Ladies and one in the Starter ... Hernandez won for the first time on Champions Day, but picked up his fourth stakes win of the meet ... Wildrally, who was second in the Champions Day Turf to Willist in 2007, won for the first time in seven starts in 2008.

Classic

Winner: Autobeacat ($13.80, running time 1:53.72)

Trainer Eric Heitzmann: "This horse needs a little pace up front. He likes to come up to horses, so I was a little concerned when he was on the lead."

Jockey Donnie Meche: "The race set up a little differently than what I expected. The pace horses took back further than I thought. I felt even though he was on the front, his stride was comfortable for me and him. He was doing it very easy."

Notes: Donnie Meche's only other Champions Day win came in the 2004 Sprint aboard Archeval ... Autobeacat went off at odds of nearly 6-1, but was the longest shot in the five-horse field ... It was Heitzmann's first Champions Day victory.

Sprint

Winner: Star Guitar ($5.40, running time 1:11.07)

Trainer Al Stall Jr.: "He is a gorgeous specimen of a horse that has showed us promise from Day One. We had a little injury back in January and we regrouped to point for this day. He likes large fields. Nothing scares him. He'll go inside, outside, wherever you want to take him. When he finds his stride, he's a powerful horse. Sprinting might not be his game, but we're very happy to win this."

Jockey Robby Albarado: "Star Guitar is a great horse. Like Al said, he might settle as he gets older. He's a very classy horse."

Notes: With his wins today in the Lassie and Sprint, Albarado tied Calvin Borel for the most wins by a jockey on Champions Day with 12 ... Albarado won the race for the third time (2002-03 with Zarb's Luck) ... Star Guitar, who won last year's Juvenile, joined Superior Storm as winners of Champions Day 2007 to win again in 2008 ... Stall won his third lifetime Champions Day race.