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Louisiana Derby Runner-Up Papa Clem an Arkansas Derby Traveler

Headlines for Friday, March 20, 2009

  • Louisiana Derby Runner-Up Papa Clem an Arkansas Derby Traveler
  • Fair Grounds' Leading Rider Duel Continues
  • Don MacBeth and RTC Fundraiser Coming Up Tuesday
  • Arlington Representative Riggs at Fair Grounds This Weekend
  • Former Fair Grounds Trainer Tommie Morgan Dies
  • Will You Still Need Me When I'm 64?


Louisiana Derby Runner-Up Papa Clem an Arkansas Derby Traveler

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem, who gamely held on for the place position in Fair Grounds' Grade II Louisiana Derby last weekend, arrived safely at Oaklawn Park Thursday evening and will be pointed for the Grade II Arkansas Derby April 11.

"They tell me (Papa Clem) arrived in Hot Springs about 5 p.m. my time," trainer Gary Stute said from his Southern California base of operations on Friday morning. "He traveled well and is doing fine.

"I thought he ran real well the other day (Louisiana Derby)," Stute said.  "When (Friesan Fire) caught him in the stretch, I thought he'd give it up and finish third or fourth, but he didn't quit and was able to save second.  Considering it was his first time on dirt and his first time in the mud, I was very happy with his race."


Fair Grounds' Leading Rider Duel Continues

Six-time Fair Grounds leading rider Robby Albarado continues to lead 2007-08 top jockey Jamie Theriot by four wins entering Friday's races at the Crescent City oval.

Albarado had recorded 81 wins before Friday's twilight racing program began and Theriot had celebrated 77 trips to the winner's circle.  Both jockeys are Louisiana natives.

Meanwhile, Irish-born jockey James Graham, currently third in the standings, posted a riding double Thursday to increase his total to 67 wins.


Don MacBeth and RTC Fundraiser Coming Up Tuesday

Jockeys Robby Albarado and Corey Lanerie entering a "talent contest" as The Backstreet Boys, or a "womanless beauty pageant" featuring male Fair Grounds jockeys dressed in evening gowns and female wigs?

Both scenarios are possible at the Don MacBeth and Race Track Chaplaincy fundraiser coming up Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Hotel Landmark Hotel in Metairie, with jockey agent Rick Mocklin serving as the Master of Ceremonies.

 Tickets for the event may be purchased for $25 until 4 p.m. this Sunday.

  For further information, call (504) 943-0772, or (504) 388-0307.


Arlington Racing Representative Riggs at Fair Grounds This Weekend

Valerie Riggs, Arlington Park's Racing Operations Manager, is at Fair Grounds through the weekend to accept nominations for this summer's Grade I Arlington Million and Grade I Beverly D. Stakes, and also nominations for Arlington's 2009 Mid-America Triple.

Riggs arrived in New Orleans Thursday and will be on the grounds at the New Orleans oval contacting local horsemen through Monday morning before returning to Chicago.

"We have added several incentives to nominate to our major stakes this year," said Riggs.  "We now have in place a $500,000 bonus for the owner of any horse who sweeps the Mid-America Triple (consisting of the $150,000 Arlington Classic, $300,000 American Derby and $400,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes).

Other Mid-America Triple incentives include a $6,000 bonus to the owner of a horse that runs in all three legs of the Triple, and a $3,000 bonus to the owner of any horse who runs in two legs of the series.

 "Also, under a new format designed by (Arlington Vice President of Racing Secretary) Kevin Greely, the top three runners in the Million Preview Day prep races July 11 will have their entry fees and starting fees waived for the three Grade I races on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8," Ms. Riggs said.

The $200,000 Grade III Arlington Handicap on Million Preview Day is a prep for the Arlington Million, the $200,000 Grade III Modesty Handicap July 11 is a designed preview for the Beverly D., and the $300,000 Grade II American Derby, middle leg of the Triple, is a tune-up for the Secretariat.

 "It's been a good trip so far," said Riggs on the progress of her Fair Grounds sojourn, "and, hopefully, these new bonuses will continue to encourage horsemen to participate at Arlington this summer."

 In other Fair-Grounds-Arlington news, Javier Barajas, a former track superintendent at Fair Grounds and also at Arlington Park, has taken a similar position with the Dubai Racing Club.  


Former Fair Grounds Trainer Tommie Morgan Dies

Longtime Fair Grounds trainer Tommie Morgan died Monday in Fort Worth, Texas, at age 62.

Mr. Morgan is remembered for having saddled Encolure to win Fair Grounds' 1985 Lecomte Stakes, and that colt went on to finish second in that year's Arkansas Derby, Ohio Derby and Super Derby, and was also 10th in the Kentucky Derby that spring. 

Mr. Morgan, who also saddled Music Leader to finish 15th in the 1982 Kentucky Derby, was credited with 1,122 wins from 7,732 starters during his career.


Will You Still Need Me When I'm 64?

Lost in the shuffle of Louisiana Derby week was jockey Martin Brown's second local trip to the winner's circle at the current Fair Grounds meeting.

The native Louisianian posed in the winner's circle a week ago on Friday the 13th astride Ashley Cornell and Daniel Ray's Almost Mary for trainer Wade Ladner

Brown,  whose two latest wins have both come as a 64-year-old reinsman, remains one of the hardest working horsemen on the grounds, galloping for an extensive clientele of trainers in the mornings, and then accepting numerous additional mounts in the afternoons.