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Ron the Greek, Hotep Get Weekend Works for Louisiana Derby

Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23 as the first leg of the local sophomore series, worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.

“It was a very good work for him,” said trainer Tom Amoss on Monday. “He went in company and spotted the other horse eight or 10 lengths at the start and when called upon he finished up down the lane very well and did it with authority.”

Asked about Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk, his other high profile 3-year-old who won Delta Downs’ $75,000 Sportsman’s Paradise on Feb. 26 in his only start this year, Amoss said, “Backtalk will work Wednesday and a decision on his Louisiana Derby status will be made after that work.”

On Saturday, Sam-Son Farms’ Hotep breezed three-quarters in 1:15 flat in preparation for the $750,000 Louisiana Derby. Hotep is a full brother to Eye of the Leopard – winner of the 2009 Grade I Queen’s Plate, who was subsequently named Canada’s Horse of the Year last year.

“(Hotep) looked good in his work Saturday,” said trainer Mark Frostad Monday morning. “Now we’ll give him one more work next week and if he does good in that one, we’re going to go in the Louisiana Derby.”

Giant Oak Works Sunday for New Orleans Handicap
Virginia Tarra’s Giant Oak, third in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Mineshaft Handicap Feb. 20 in his only start this year, worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 Sunday in advance of the upcoming Grade II New Orleans Handicap March 27.

“(Giant Oak) did everything just right,” said trainer Neil Pessin Monday morning during training hours. “He came out of it very strong and we are sitting on the (New Orleans) Handicap.”

Giant Oak’s full sister, Virginia Tarra’s Apple Martini, breezed a half in 49.60 Saturday morning in preparation for Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Bayou Handicap March 26.

Star Guitar Breezes Sunday – Next Start Now Uncertain
Brittlyn Stables’ Star Guitar breezed five furlongs Sunday in 1:03.80 and is nominated to Saturday’s inaugural running of the $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes as well as the Grade II New Orleans Handicap one week later. 

“The horse is fine and the work was fine,” said trainer Al Stall Jr. on Monday morning. “Whatever direction we point him in now, he’s good to go.”

2010 Don MacBeth Memorial Fundraiser on Tuesday
Fair Grounds fans and local horsemen are reminded that the 2010 Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fundraiser – with all proceeds going to benefit injured and disabled jockeys and exercise riders – will be held Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Best Western Landmark Hotel in Metairie.

There will be a cash bar beginning at 6 p.m., a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m., a live and silent auction, door prizes, a 50-50 raffle and a dance contest, with music by Harvey Jesus and Fire.

Tickets are $25 per person with reserved tables of 10 available at $250.

For tickets contact Rick Mocklin at (504) 382-9787, the Louisiana H.B.P.A. Backstretch Office or any Fair Grounds jockey.