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Sellers Rules Again in Pontalba; Comedero Wins Old Hickory
After riding a winner on Friday’s opening day at Fair Grounds, Louisiana native Shane Sellers, once a nationally-known riding star who returned to the saddle last summer following a 4 1/2-year retirement, continued his Fair Grounds comeback Saturday by returning to the winner’s circle in the 39th running of the $60,000 Pontalba Stakes aboard Christopher Bardasian’s Right to Rule for Eclipse-Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
“The race set up good for us,” said Sellers following the Pontalba. “The favorite (Greeley’s Rocket) kind of kicked off from us turning for home, but I had to go right after her. I got by her but she came again at us in the last part of it. Eddie (Martin, jockey aboard Greeley’s Rocket) is a hard rider to get by, but fortunately we were able to hold him off.”
Right to Rule’s margin of victory over Greeley’s Rocket was a nose, and the winner returned $6.40 and $2.60, while Greeley’s Rocket paid $2.20 to place. There was no show wagering in the four-horse field. Right to Rule increased her career earnings to $41,656 with her third win in five starts.
Greeley’s alternated for the early lead with Blading Gold Ring while recording splits of 22.10 and 45.94 before Right to Rule marked the final time of 1:11.12.
In Saturday’s co-featured 32nd running of the $60,000 Old Hickory Stakes, Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.’s Comedero posted a wire-to-wire tally, winning the 2-year-old fixture by 1 3/4–lengths under jockey James Graham to remain undefeated in three career starts while boosting his lifetime earnings to $80,700.
“I worked him at Keeneland, so I knew he was quick but he relaxes so well” said Graham. “I just let him get into his rhythm. He’ll do the work you ask him to do.”
Comedero, trained by Michael Stidham, set early fractions of 22.20 and 45.84 before completing the six furlongs in 1:10.13. The winner paid $5 and $3.80. There was no show wagering. L.T.B. Inc.’s Vito Filitto finished second, returning $5.80 to place.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:30 p.m.