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Quiet Temper Wins Fair Grounds Oaks; Top Four Heading to Kentucky Oaks

Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper was kept to her task in the final strides by jockey Robby Albarado to best front-running Champagne d’Oro by a  half-length in Friday’s 44th running of the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, the main event for 3-year-old fillies each season at the Crescent City oval.

The win gave Albarado, the only jockey who has been leading rider at Fair Grounds seven different seasons, his first victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks.

“It feels great,” said Albarado. “I’ve won just about every other stakes race here and I’ve been very lucky, but I’ve been plagued with seconds in the Fair Grounds Oaks. I rode a great filly today and I’m proud of her. They’ve done a great job with her.”

Trained by Dale Romans, Quiet Temper was allowed to settle early, angled out to rally after the eighth pole and prevailed in the late stages. The winner paid mutuels of $7.80, $4.80 and $3.40, toured the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.55 and increased her career earnings to $567,300 with her third victory in eight lifetime starts.

Monday morning, Quiet Temper will head to Louisville, Ky., where she will attempt to become the third straight Fair Grounds Oaks winner to also win the Kentucky Oaks. Eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra completed the Fair Grounds-Kentucky double last year and Proud Spell did it in 2008.

“We’re five weeks out (from the Kentucky Oaks) and we’ll give her plenty of time, go back to our home track, and I think she’ll come into it perfect,” Romans said.

The top four finishers in the Fair Grounds Oaks all indicated their intent to try racing’s most prestigious event for sophomore fillies.

Champagne d’Oro, trained by Eric Guillot, made the pace with early splits of 23.78 and 47.69 under jockey John Jacinto, could not stay with the winner in the last strides but held the place by a head in front of the dead-heated third-place finishers Sheer Beauty and Seeking the Title.

“She rated pretty good and gave me all she had,” said Jacinto after the race. “If we had been on the inside I think we win this race. I was way outside and had to rush her a little bit just to get in a good spot.”

Guillot agreed that the outside post hindered Champagne d’Oro’s chances: “The post position cost us the race. I knew she was kind of a speed horse but when you look at the statistics from the 10-hole it’s about half of what the inside posts are. I think if she comes back good she’s deserving of going to the Oaks.”

Champagne d’Oro paid $11.20 and $10.60, while Sheer Beauty returned $7.80 for third and Seeking the Title paid $2.80 in that same show position.

Mambo Fever finished fifth, well clear of morning line favorite Ailalea.

“I had to go wide into the first turn and couldn’t save ground,” said Ailalea’s jockey, Javier Castellano. “Down the backside she was perfect, grabbed the bridle and was very comfortable. Turning for home she was more kind of even. She didn’t kick.”  

Jody Slew, winner of the first two legs of Fair Grounds’ sophomore filly stakes series, never threatened while finishing seventh.

“We missed some training with her (after she got cast in her stall and got bruised about a week ago) and she wasn’t quite ready today,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “We just wanted to keep her on schedule and we did that today. We’ll take a look at her for the next couple of days and hopefully continue to move forward with her.”

The order of finish was completed by Camille’s Appeal, Shezacrazygirl, Visavis and The Rumor’s True.

Racing resumes Saturday at Fair Grounds for the centerpiece day of the season, a 13-race gala afternoon beginning at 12:10 p.m. highlighted by the 97th running of the Grade II Louisiana Derby but featuring a total of six stakes including the Grade II New Orleans Handicap for older horses and the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap for older horses over the Stall-Wilson turf course. An All-Stakes Pick 4 with a guaranteed pool of $125,000 will also be part of the festivities.

The 2009-2010 Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite comes to a close on Sunday.