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Nine Stakes on Santa Super Saturday

This weekend’s Santa Super Saturday program at Fair Grounds – originally scheduled as a five-stakes-race package – gets four more gifts already wrapped under its tree when the four stakes cancelled from last Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day are to be run as originally drawn.

Saturday’s expanded 13-race program will begin with a first post time of 12 noon and include the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint and $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint – all of which were postponed after torrential rains forced the abandonment of last Saturday’s races midway through the afternoon.

Brittlyn Stable’ Star Guitar, 3-5 morning line choice in the Classic, could become the fourth horse in the 19-year-history of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Champions Day to win three times on Champions Day should he prove successful in Saturday’s Classic, and Wachtel Stables, Brous Stable’s and Jerry D. Lee’s Desert Wheat, 2-1 morning line favorite in the Turf, could return to the winner’s circle in this year’s Turf after winning the 2006 renewal, running fourth in 2007 and missing by a neck when second in last year’s edition of the grass test.

Heading the original five Santa Super Saturday races slated for this weekend is Fair Grounds’ inaugural running of the $100,000 Daily Racing Form Distaff, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares that is headed by 9-5 morning line choice War Echo, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and conditioned by defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen. That filly won last winter’s Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes before being sidelined by injury prior to the Fair Grounds Oaks in the spring.

The other four races originally scheduled for Santa Super Saturday are the 59th running of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for 2-year-olds that will be 3-year-olds and be possible Grade II Louisiana Derby candidates after the first of the year; the 50th renewal of the $60,000 Letellier Memorial for juvenile fillies that might be pointed for this spring’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks; the 17th running of the $60,000 Esplanade Stakes for filly and mare sprinters; and the fourth running of the $60,000 Bonapaw for older grass sprinters.

Special wagering highlights for Santa Super Saturday include an additional daily double (beginning in the eighth race) on the Louisiana Champions Day Classic and the Daily Racing Form Distaff; an additional all-stakes 50-cent Pick 4 that will begin in the sixth race to include the Ladies Sprint, Esplanade, Classic and Daily Racing Form Distaff; as well as a Pick 6 that will involve races 8-13.