Monday Notes: Albarado to Begin Galloping Horses Saturday

Jockey Robby Albarado, the native of Lafayette, Louisiana, who has become a Fair Grounds legend during the course of his stellar career, will start galloping horses again this Saturday, according to his longtime agent Lenny Pike.

Albarado, the only jockey in Fair Grounds history to earn seven riding titles at the Crescent City oval, has been out of action since Jan. 2 when he sustained a broken heel during a pre-race accident while riding a horse through the tunnel after leaving the paddock.

“The plan is for Robby to start working horses again in the morning this Saturday,” said Pike while touring the barn area during training hours Monday morning. “I would think he would probably work horses for about a week to get fit, and then if everything goes good we’ll be ready to roll. A lot depends on how he feels after he starts getting fit again. We’ll see how it goes.”

Albarado’s most recent Fair Grounds riding title came during the 2008-2009 meeting, allowing him to break a six-title tie with former jockey Ronald Ardoin. Before that, Albarado won three straight local titles from the season that began in 2002 and the one that ended in 2005. Prior to that, Albarado also won three straight titles at the New Orleans oval from the season that began in 1997 through the one that ended in 2000.

JAMES GRAHAM RIDES FOUR WINNERS SUNDAY – Jockey James Graham enjoyed a four-win day Sunday at Fair Grounds to move into a sole possession of third place in the local rider standings entering Monday’s 10-race Lundi Gras program.

The Irish-born reinsman, who finished second in the jockey standings last season to 2009-2010 leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan, trailed Bridgmohan by one win for the second spot in this season’s standings beginning Monday’s race day.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik has pulled away from the rest of the colony as leading rider this winter at Fair Grounds and was 18 wins ahead of Bridgmohan entering Lundi Gras.

Graham rode both halves of Sunday’s Daily Double, taking the opener on Richard Rudolph’s Forever Jenny for trainer Spanky Broussard and coming right back to the winner’s circle in the second race aboard Thereisgoldahead, owned and trained by Greg Foley. He had also swept both ends of last Monday’s Daily Double, a feat he has accomplished more than any other local rider this season.

Graham won Sunday’s fourth race on Nancy Dillman’s Mega Dream for conditioner Ralph Nicks, and completed his winning quartet on Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Wildcat Aly for trainer Merrill Scherer.

AIDE, LEFT ADDING TO ARCH CONNECTION FOR AL STALL JR. – Trainer Al Stall Jr. will saddle Adele Dilschneider’s 3-year-old filly Aide in Tuesday’s $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds, and also is planning to saddle Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s 3-year-old colt Left in the upcoming $1 million Louisiana Derby here on March 26 as the centerpiece event of the New Orleans winter Thoroughbred season.

Both Aide and Left were sired by Arch, as is the now-retired Blame – also owned by Claiborne and Dilschneider and also trained by Stall, who upset eventual Horse of the Year Zenyatta in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs last Nov. 6.

Interestingly, Aurora, the dam of Arch, died last week at Middlebrook Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, several hours after dropping an Empire Maker filly without any apparent complications.

“Fortunately, we still have Arch around,” said Stall Monday morning during training hours at Fair Grounds, “so (Aurora) will still be living on in spirit for us.”

Aurora, a daughter of Danzig out of three-time Grade I winner and 1983 2-year-old champion filly Althea, was a 23-year-old broodmare at the time of her death.

SPECIAL EARLY POST TIME OF 12:10 P.M. THIS SATURDAY AT FAIR GROUNDS – Fair Grounds guests and fans of the Crescent City oval’s simulcast signal should make note that there will be a special early post time of 12:10 p.m. this Saturday to accommodate the 13-race program carded for the afternoon. The racing will include the $100,000 New Orleans Ladies for older females at 1 1/16 miles and the $60,000 Grindstone Stakes for 3-year-olds at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, redrawn today after being washed out on last Saturday’s card that was cancelled following Race 2.