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Santa Super Saturday Notes & Quotes



Letellier Memorial Stakes

Winner: Leigh McLovin ($5.60, running time 1:10.47)

Trainer Ronny Werner: "The inside post was a little of a concern. We were fortunate that she broke well. She ran a good race."

Jockey Robby Albarado: "It wasn't in our plan to go to the front, but she broke well. She went quick early but finished up very well."

Notes: Albarado won this race for the first time since 1998 with the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Star of Broadway ... .Werner last captured a Fair Grounds stakes race on Dec. 1, 2007, when Steve's Double won the Tenacious Handicap ... Albarado and Werner had only combined for one other Fair Grounds stakes win before Saturday, but it was memorable: Badge of Silver's 10-length romp in the 2003 Risen Star Stakes ... The running time was the third-fastest in this race in the last decade.


Bonapaw Stakes

Winner: Storm Treasure ($6.20, running time 1:04.24)

Assistant Trainer Scott Blasi: "We were worried about the (lack of) pace in the race. Shaun and I spoke about not taking him to the rail and moving him to the outside, and it went our way."

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan: "He broke alert, got him in a good position. He inched up a little on the turn and his talent kicked in (in the stretch)."

Notes: Trainer Steve Asmussen and Bridgmohan combined to win the Bonapaw for the second straight year; they teamed to win last year's race with Stormin Baghdad ... Blasi was the trainer of record for the inaugural running of this race with Gaff ... On this day last year, that trainer-jockey combo teamed for six wins ... The win was Asmussen's 604th of 2008, as he continues to add to his record for North American wins in a year.


Esplanade Stakes

Winner: Secret Gypsy ($3.20, running time 1:03.22)

Trainer Ronny Werner: "I'm proud of her. She ran a great race."

Jockey Robby Albarado: "What an amazing filly. She was much the best today. She has a deceptive stride. Pound for pound, she's as quick as they come going five-eighths, six furlongs. Ronny's done a great job with her."

Notes: The running time is a stakes record; this is the third time the Esplanade has been contested at this distance and surface ... The win gives Werner his first career Fair Grounds stakes double ... With four stakes wins the last two Saturdays, Albarado increased his record total of career Fair Grounds stakes wins to 99 ... That total includes 14 graded stakes wins, also a Fair Grounds record ... Secret Gypsy was an odds-on winner for the second consecutive start.


Woodchopper Stakes

Winner: Jimmy Simms ($7.80, running time 1:39.21)

Assistant Trainer Scott Blasi: "He rated a little last time at Churchill Downs. He seems to be accepting it, learning to relax off other horses. (He's) starting to mature mentally. He's definitely going in the right way."

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan: "He rated very kindly today. He has a lot of ability."

Jockey Kent Desormeaux (Macho Again, 6th): "I thought he handled the turf. I had to make him want to race. He just wanted to go out for a gallop. The next race, we need to man up."

Notes: Asmussen and Bridgmohan teamed to win this race last year, which was contested on Christmas Eve, with Inca King ... Over the last two years, they have teamed for seven wins in the five stakes races contested today ... The two graded stakes winners in the field, Macho Again and Turf War, finished sixth and seventh.


Sugar Bowl Stakes

Winner: Ask Joe ($24.80, running time 1:10.53)

Trainer Steve Klesaris: "It was a great one to begin with (his first win of the meet). I think this was (Ask Joe's) best race. I think he'll be better sprinting."

Jockey Miguel Mena: "He broke well and had a great trip. Down the stretch, he gave me everything he had. He seems not to mind running either way - front end or come-from-behind."

Notes: It was Klesaris' first career Fair Grounds stakes win ... Mena captured six stakes races at Fair Grounds last season ... Klesaris won his 1,000th career race in October ... None of the top three finishers - Ask Joe, Big Push or Valid Stripes - are Louisiana Derby early-bird nominees.