Roi Maudit Heads Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds

NEW ORLEANS, La. (November 23, 2008) - Haras Santa Maria de Araras' Roi Maudit has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line choice in the 83rd running of the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, the traditional Turkey Day feature at Fair Grounds.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and to be ridden by Pat Valenzuela, Roi Maudit will be asked to shoulder the top impost of 120 pounds in the seven-horse field.  Mott and Valenzuela combined to win a pair of stakes on the meet's opening weekend.

In his last start, Roi Maudit was third in the Grade III Sport Page Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 25. Prior to that seven-furlong event, Roi Maudit captured the $66,000 Eillo Stakes at the Meadowlands Oct. 3 when going Thursday's distance of six furlongs.

Capable of providing strong competition for Roi Maudit is Padua Stables' Devereux, second in the weight assignments at 116 and second choice in the morning line at 3-1.

Devereux, a sophomore son of Forestry from the barn of record-setting trainer Steve Asmussen, could not handle the muddy going in the $250,000 Gallant Bob Handicap Sept. 27 at Philadelphia Park, but was third in his previous start, the Grade II Amsterdam at Saratoga. Corey Lanerie will ride.

Another Asmussen entrant, Sok Sok, makes his first start since winning the Sugar Bowl Stakes over this same surface last December.

From the rail out, with jockeys and weights included, the Thanksgiving Handicap field consists of Truelyonbroadway, 115, Jamie Theriot; Roi Maudit, 120, Valenzuela; George's Cigar, 113, Jesse Campbell; John Charles, 114, Francisco Torres; Sok Sok, 115, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Devereux, 116, Lanerie, and Port Captain, 112, E.J. Perrodin.

First post on Thursday is 12:15 p.m., which is 15 minutes earlier than usual. It is the first of three consecutive days of early post times at Fair Grounds.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.