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Much Obliged Much the Best in Opening Day Blushing K.D.

Favorite players could say “Thank You” to Pin Oak Stable’s Much Obliged when she prevailed by a half-length in Friday’s featured second running of the $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap.

As the odds-on choice in the wagering, the 4-year-old daughter of Kingmambo, trained by Malcolm Pierce, returned mutuels of $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10 under jockey Francisco Torres after courageously gaining the lead well in the final strides. She accomplished the about 1 1/16-mile distance over a firm Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:45.79.

“She’s just a nice mare,” said Torres following her win. “There’s not too much to say. Good horses prevail under any circumstances. I’d just like to thank Mr. Malcolm and Pin Oak for giving me the opportunity to ride her.

Team Block’s Never Retreat, ridden by James Graham, got the lead at the eighth pole, could not withstand the winner late, but finished 1 3/4-lengths to the good of James Perron Racing Stable’s Category Seven. Never Retreat paid $3.60 and $3 while Category Seven returned $3.20.

Ruling Class set early fractions of 25.17 and 51.10 before tiring to finish seventh.

Sellers wins first FG race in comeback
One race prior to the Blushing K. D., Louisiana native Shane Sellers returned to Fair Grounds after an absence of more than four years to win aboard Keith Bourgeois-trained Mr. Skie’s Spirit.

“I’m very excited, but I’m a little emotional right now,” said Sellers – a nationally prominent reinsman during the 1990s before retiring from the saddle four and a half years ago.

“Four and a half years is a long time,” said Sellers. “Praise God that I got another opportunity to ride. Life is all about opportunity, and I’m glad they gave me another chance. I’ll try to make a better go of it this time.”

Sellers finished second in the 2003-2004 Fair Grounds standings to Robby Albarado when he last hung his tack at the New Orleans oval.