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Love to Tell Wins Pago Hop in Wild Finish
NEW ORLEANS, La. (December 06, 2008) - In a blanket finish in which the first six horses under the wire were separated by three-quarters of a length, former claimer Love to Tell proved best by a head in the $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes Saturday at Fair Grounds.
Trained by Mike Burgess for Mark Feld's Lucas Downs Ltd., Love to Tell paid $22.60, $10 and $4.40 while covering about one mile over a firm Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:40.44. The meet's leading rider, Francisco Torres, was aboard the daughter of Stage Colony.
"This was a big win for her and for me," said Burgess. "After claiming her for $16,000 (in January at Fair Grounds) as a maiden, I've now won three stakes with her, but this is my first stakes win at Fair Grounds."
Love to Tell, who increased her career earnings to $132,573 with her fourth win in 11 starts, won a pair of turf stakes at Louisiana Downs last summer, the Little Treasure and the Honeymoon.
Second choice Scolara finished second, paying $3.80 and $2.40, while a head to the good of Apple Martini and favorite My Baby Baby, who dead-heated for the third spot. Apple Martini returned $2.60 for the show while My Baby Baby paid $2.10.
"I'm very happy for Mike," said Torres, "because this win gives the filly (additional) black type and makes her worth a lot more. When you can beat six horses on the wire and get a win like that, it really means something. Mike has done a fine job with her."
Joyful made the pace with splits of :25.44 and :50.93 before tiring to finish seventh.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.