Recapturetheglory Returns Sunday to Fair Grounds
Headlines for Friday, February 13, 2009
- Recapturetheglory Returns Sunday to Fair Grounds
- Announcer Dooley, Athlete Delhomme Share Superstitions
- Lanerie, Gonzalez Get Monday Doubles; Lanerie Repeats Thursday
Recapturetheglory Returns Sunday to Fair Grounds
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Can Recapturetheglory live up to his name when he returns to competition in Sunday's opener at Fair Grounds?
He's in Race 1, he breaks from post 1 and he's No. 1 in the hearts of a host of New Orleans natives who religiously follow the fortunes of Thoroughbreds racing for co-owners Louie Roussel III and Ronnie Lamarque.
"I thought he worked great the other day," said assistant trainer Lara Van Deren of Recapturetheglory's bullet five-furlong move in 1:00.40 on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 7. "I'd been working him myself up to that point, but James (Graham) was up the other day and he was just as pleased as I was with his move.
"Recapturetheglory's win in the (Grade II) Illinois Derby was a huge race, and I think the training he got at Fair Grounds last winter helped out a lot. It's a very good track to train on and when he raced that day in Chicago he was full of run.
"When the Kentucky Derby came along I thought he ran a nice race there, too," said Van Deren of Recapturetheglory's fifth-place effort behind (eventual Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old Big Brown. "I think he could have run even better, but he really got freaked out by the big Derby Day crowd in Louisville. He was very unsettled that day because of the noise. He's kind of a claustrophobic horse. He sees everything and he hears everything, so after that we put started putting cotton in his ears for the trip to the gate and take it out after he gets to the gate.
"Then, in the (Grade III) Northern Dancer (at Churchill June 14 where he finished fourth behind Louisiana Derby winner Pyro), the rider had a hard time keep him close to the front," said Van Deren. "If he doesn't stay close, this horse kind of loses interest.
"Of course, it was in his last start in the (Grade III) West Virginia Derby (Aug. 2) that he got hurt," concluded Van Deren. "After that race he had to have a small chip taken out of his knee, and I think the time off has done him a lot of good. He's grown a lot and put on a lot of weight. I think it was just what he needed."
Announcer Dooley, Athlete Delhomme Share Superstitions
Athletes and people around the race track tend to be of a superstitious nature, and coincidentally it was on Friday the 13th that Fair Grounds announcer John G. Dooley requested an autographed winner's circle photo signed by Carolina Panthers' star quarterback Jake Delhomme.
The win picture was from Jan. 24 - the day Delhomme's horse Training Room won at Fair Grounds for a $114.20 win price, and Dooley provided a colorful call in the final strides. Dooley's autograph request came on the day Set-Hut LLC's Silent Count finished a well-beaten 10th in the second half of the Friday the 13th Daily Double.
Was it the infamous day that got Silent Count beat?
"Aw, no," Delhomme said as he walked beside Silent Count along the way back to the barn. "He got to acting all goofy while he was still in the paddock, and I knew he left his race right there. I knew he wouldn't run any good today."
Did Delhomme have any football-related superstitions?
"Well, after a win, I like to eat the same thing I had before that game before the next game, too," Delhomme said, "and if we that game I'll keep on with the same thing.
"But if we lose," Delhomme concluded, "I won't lie to you. I won't go anywhere near any food like I had that day. I'll eat something entirely different."
Dooley has his own superstitions.
"This is 2009," Dooley said, "so this is my fifth year as the announcer at Fair Grounds and my 10th as the announcer at Arlington. It's also 20 years ago that I began my announcing career - first as a back-up announcer in New York, then in Ohio, Arizona, Texas and Chicago.
"But everywhere I've been, I've colored my programs with Crayolas next to the name of each horse to match its racing silks," Dooley said, "and I've carried my marker pens in the same coffee cup wherever I've been. This cup has been on the road with me for 20 years.
"Coloring my programs is a just a habit I can't seem to do without," Dooley said. "It wouldn't matter if I was calling a match race or a walkover. I just have to do that or it doesn't feel right when I step up to the microphone."
Lanerie, Gonzalez Get Monday Doubles; Lanerie Repeats Thursday
Riding two winners (back-to-back) Monday was Fair Grounds regular Corey Lanerie on Category Seven in the seventh and Silent Pipe in the eighth, and the Louisiana native repeated with another two-bagger Thursday on Dubai Star in the third and Golden Slammer in the fifth. The consecutive doubles on back-to-back race days moved Lanerie to seventh place in the standings.
Former Oaklawn regular rider Carlos Gonzalez is gradually picking up steam at Fair Grounds in his first full season in New Orleans.
On Monday, Gonzalez won the fourth race of the day aboard Lokomamma and came back to the winner's circle in the sixth astride Dancing Rebecca. Both those horses were trained by Bret Calhoun, who is currently in the midst of a duel with Cody Autrey for second place in the trainer standings this year.
"Because I was new at Fair Grounds, my original goal this winter here was to win 10 races," Gonzalez said, "and I won that many by the half-way point, so everything else has been gravy."
One of Gonzalez's best winters came in 1998, when he won both the Grade I Oaklawn Handicap aboard Precocity (who came back the next winter to defeat Real Quiet in the New Orleans Handicap) and the Grade II Fantasy on Silent Eskimo. Both those horses were trained by Bobby Barnett for the late John Franks.