Louisiana Derby Day Persented By Budweiser Notes & Quotes
Louisana Derby (G2)
Winner: Freisan Fire ($6.40, running time 1:43.46)
Trainer Larry Jones (by phone from Oaklawn Park): (laughing) “I thought he could have run much better if I was there.
“We’re very happy with his performance. The time was good. It at least gets us in the ballpark All is well. We’re improving every race.”
“He’s getting good at the right time. The work the other day kind of touted us.
(on next race) “He’s definitely going to Keeneland. He’s headed there next week. We’ll analyze his numbers to think if he can run a Derby winning number off this race or if we need to get another race into him.
He probably has more races under his belt than anyone who’s in contention for the Derby. He already has seven races.”
Jockey Gabriel Saez: “I got him right behind the leaders. He was very relaxed. When I made my move, he just exploded. I think he keeps getting better.”
Jockey Rafael Bejarano (Papa Clem, 2nd): “He tried really hard. I thought he was really comfortable through the race. I am very pleased with his progression and I think he liked the surface (his first race on dirt).”
Trainer Al Stall Jr. (Terrain, 3rd): “It was a great comeback race. We’re the only horse who closed into a slow pace. We were really happy with the comeback.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux (Terrain, 3rd): “Very pleased. He gave me a good effort for his first race back since December. I liked that he finished the race well.”
Notes: Jones and Saez won the Louisiana Derby for the first time; they teamed to win the Fair Grounds Oaks a year ago with Proud Spell … It was Jones’ sixth graded stakes win at Fair Grounds, all in the last three years; Friesan Fire has accounted for half that total … Friesan Fire became the first horse to win three graded stakes in a single Fair Grounds meet and the first horse to sweep the Lecomte, Risen Star and Louisiana Derby since Dixieland Heat in 1993 … Coincidentally, Dixieland Heat’s 1993 Louisiana Derby win was the last one over a sloppy track.
Fair Grounds Oaks (G2)
Winner: Rachel Alexandra ($2.60, running time 1:43.55)
Trainer Hal Wiggins: (on coming from off the pace) “I think she can be anywhere on the racetrack. In fact, the first time she was on the lead was in the Golden Rod (last November at Churchill Downs), and it kind of surprised us. But today, it was kind of the plan because we didn’t want the mud hitting her in the face.”
Jockey Calvin Borel: “She is a jockey’s dream. She is definitely one of the best 3-year-old fillies I’ve been on. She is reversible; she can come off of it or she can be on the lead. She does whatever I want her to do.”
Notes: Despite the sloppy going, the running time of 1:43.55 was the fastest in this race since Ashado’s win in 2004, when she covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.07 … The $2.60 win price matched the second-lowest in Fair Grounds Oaks history, behind Truly Bound’s $2.40 in 1981 … Coincidentally, 10 years ago this weekend, Silverbulletday paid $2.60 in winning the Fair Grounds Oaks, also over a sloppy track … Borel won the Fair Grounds Oaks for the first time in four career stars, dating back to 1989 … Wiggins won his first Fair Grounds Oaks as well; he has saddled three career starters in the race … Three of the last four winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks, including 2008 winner Proud Spell, have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks.
New Orleans Handicap (G2)
Winner: Macho Again ($23.60, running time 1:50.21)
Trainer Dallas Stewart: “Today was just another big win for him as we get his 4-year-old season going. It’s a long year. We’ll take our time with him. He a nice horse. He’s won at Saratoga.”
Jockey Robby Albarado: “They were going fast up front; that suited my colt fine. He sat well and responded when I called on him. The surface is muddy but it’s playing fair.”
Jockey Kent Desormeaux (Secret Getaway, 2nd): “He was running well. He did everything but win.”
Notes: Ten years ago today, Stewart and Albarado teamed up to win the Louisiana Derby with Kimberlite Pipe … Macho Again was Stewart’s first New Orleans Handicap starter … Albarado won this race with eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft in 2003; he was second the last two years with Patriot Act (2007) and Grasshopper (2008) … The 11-1 final line was the first time Macho Again had been sent off at double-figure odds since last year’s Belmont Stakes, when he finished fifth.
Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (G2)
Winner: Proudinsky ($8.80, running time 1:50.94)
Jockey Victor Espinoza: “I thought I had a great shot. I was a little concerned with the post position, but I thought if I could save ground, I would have the best horse.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux (El Caballo, 2nd): “They got him a step before the finish. Tough race.”
Jockey Edgar Prado (Nownownow, 3rd): “It’s tough to lose, but even tougher to lose by a head-bob.”
Notes: Proudinsky became the first repeat winner of the Muniz in its 17-year history … Frankel won his seventh career graded stakes race at Fair Grounds, which trails only Steve Asmussen and Neil Howard with nine each … Espinoza was awarded the win in the Muniz in 2005 with A to the Z … The running time was exactly a half-second slower than Proudinsky’s winning time of 1:50.44 last year … Proudinsky has earned $600,000 in his two wins in the Muniz and $490,377 in his other 16 career starts.
Winner: Coy Cat ($11, running time 1:04.37)
Jockey Robby Albarado: “I wasn’t worried with the (wet) course. She won over it before, and today she ran over the course nicely.”
Notes: Albarado, who captured his 100th career Fair Grounds stakes victory last month, won the 2007 running of the Bienville aboard Smitty’s Sunshine … It is McGee’s second career Fair Grounds stakes win; he captured the 2008 Truly Bound Handicap with Spirited Away … The turf condition was upgraded to good.
Duncan F. Kenner Stakes
Winner: Sok Sok ($8.60, running time 1:09.79)
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan: “He is such an honest horse. When he gets a track he likes, he really shows his appreciation.”
Notes: Sok Sok became a two-time stakes winner at the meet; he also won the Thanksgiving Handicap in November … Asmussen and Bridgmohan teamed to win last year’s Louisiana Derby with Pyro … Asmussen, well on his way to an eighth Fair Grounds training title, has 78 wins in as many days of racing at Fair Grounds.