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RTTD Kickoff Day Notes and Quotes
F.W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes
Winner: Mutadda ($7, running time 1:09.87)
Trainer Tom Amoss: "The grass race (allowance on Dec. 27) was a good prep. He is a big horse that likes to take himself back. That outside trip ended up being a good thing for us."
Jockey Julien Leparoux: "With the outside post, I can choose. If he breaks good, I can go. If he doesn't break good, I can take back and he's outside of the other horses. He's a big horse. He did it very nicely."
Notes: Amoss won his 59th career Fair Grounds stakes race ... He captured the Gaudin for the second time; he also won 2001 with Robin De Nest ... Leparoux captured three stakes in riding regularly at Fair Grounds the second half of last season ... Judge Charles Gaudin, the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, and his family made the trophy presentation.
Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (G3)
Winner: French Beret ($6.40, running time 1:44.98)
Trainer Mark Frostad: "He got a great ride. This is the first race he's won since this race last year. You never quite know when he's going to show up, but when he does, he gets the job done. He wants to do everything this way. That's probably the reason he has so many seconds and thirds. He's got the ability; it's just the question of when he wants to produce it."
Jockey James Graham: "He was really into the bridle in the post parade, so I felt I had a lot of horse going into the race. He gives you everything he's got. He loves this place for some reason. I had my head down and riding him hard down the lane. In the last jump he threw himself on the wire. If I had this horse regular(ly), I would travel anywhere in the world with him. He's just one of those kind you strike up a relationship with and he runs his heart out for me."
Notes: French Beret became the first repeat winner of the Bradley since the Louisiana-bred Dixie Poker Ace won this race three consecutive times from 1992-94, and the first repeat winner of any Fair Grounds stakes race since Costa Rising captured the Louisiana Champions Day Classic in 2006 and 2007 ... Graham was also aboard for last year's win, which was his only previous graded stakes victory at Fair Grounds before today ... Frostad has three Fair Grounds graded stakes wins - his two with French Beret in this race and the 1997 Explosive Bid (now Muniz Memorial) Handicap with Always A Classic ... The running time was nearly a full second faster than last year's 1:45.83.
Winner: Good and Lucky ($20.80, running time 1:43.46)
Trainer Josie Carroll: "As long as he's in a comfortable position, he does his own thing."
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela: "I have to give all the credit to Josie. She's done a great job with this horse. The pace set up faster than I thought, so I decided to tuck behind (Silver Lord) and the 8 (Honest Man). When I asked him, he gave me a good kick. The horse ran a good race."
Notes: Carroll posted her 13th career Fair Grounds stakes win, but her first in the Louisiana Handicap ... It was the fastest running of the Louisiana Handicap since 1985, when Silent King won in 1:43 1-5; the stakes record is 1:42 2-5 by Soy Numero Uno in 1977 ... Whirlaway, the only Triple Crown winner ever to race at Fair Grounds, won the inaugural running of this race in 1942.
Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial Stakes
Winner: Classify ($10.60, running time 1:04.67)
Trainer Steve Asmussen: "One of the filly's best races was on the turf here last year (an allowance win on Dec. 6, 2007), so we were undecided between running (in the American Beauty Jan. 17 at Oaklawn Park) and this race. We decided to give her a chance again on the turf; it worked out well."
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan: "The race set up perfect for her. Steve did a great job. She broke real sharp. I got her in a good position. When I was ready, I showed her some daylight and she was gone."
Trainer Steve Margolis (Lady Chace, 2nd): "I'm very pleased. This filly has found her home sprinting on turf."
Notes: Asmussen, who has nearly 60 stakes victories at Fair Grounds, won this race for the first time, as did Bridgmohan ... The running time was only .08 off last year's winning time of 1:04.59 by Danceroftherealm.
Tiffany Lass Stakes
Winner: Just Jenda ($7, running time 1:38.15)
Trainer Larry Jones: "We were confident the way she was coming up to this race. She never looked like she got hold of the track (in her last start at Delta Downs). She ran very stressfully over there. She is a quality horse."
Jockey Terry Thompson: "When we left the gate at Delta, both Larry and I probably realized the race was over. It just seemed like she was spinning her wheels. Out of the gate (today), she broke a little fresh. The 5 horse (She's Extreme) moved past us. It allowed me to get in the cat-daddy's seat and I was just waiting to pounce."
Owner Cindy Jones (Larry's wife): "You do get a lot more excited when they're your own."
Jockey Julien Leparoux (Selva, 2nd): "We thought distance may be a question. She just got beat."
Notes: The running time was less than a fifth of a second off the stakes record of 1:38.00 by She's A Little Shy in 1993 ... Jones won the Fair Grounds Oaks last year with Eclipse Award finalist Proud Spell ... It was Thompson's first career Fair Grounds stakes win.
Lecomte Stakes (G3)
Winner: Friesan Fire ($6.80, running time 1:37.67)
Trainer Larry Jones: "He did well. Last race (an allowance at Fair Grounds on Dec. 18), he may have been too tight, but today, he broke well and got to relax in between horses. I told Gabe (Saez) that when he was ready to go to either go in or out, (but) don't go in between horses. He took him out and he finished up the race."
Jockey Gabriel Saez: "I put him in the right spot. He settled really good for me. I made my move to the outside and he did it all."
Trainer Josie Carroll (Patena, 2nd): "I thought he ran a terrific race. I certainly expected it to set up with a faster pace."
Jockey Robby Albarado (Patena, 2nd): "This was a good race for this colt, with those soft fractions and for him to finish up that well. He was finishing up best of all of them. An extra sixteenth (of a mile) may help him."
Trainer David Carroll (Au Moon, 3rd): "It's not the way we envisioned the race being run. We got a lot out of this race, and we're looking forward to the next one."
Notes: For the second straight year, a trainer swept the Tiffany Lass and Lecomte. Last year, Steve Asmussen pulled off the sweep with Jolie the Cat and Z Fortune ... Jones won the Lecomte for the second time in three years; he captured the 2007 running with Hard Spun ... Three of Jones' five career stakes wins at Fair Grounds have been in graded stakes ... It was the third-fastest running of the Lecomte in its 15 runnings at one mile, topped only by the stakes-record 1:37.60 by Dixieland Heat in 1993 and Saintly Look's 1:37.62 in 2003.