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Selva Adds Grass Win in Mardi Gras Stakes

NEW ORLEANS, La. (February 24, 2009) - Helen Alexander and Helen Groves' Selva, already a stakes winner on dirt and Polytrack, added Fair Grounds' Stall-Wilson turf course to her list of winning surfaces when she captured Tuesday's $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths.

The 3-year-old daughter of Forest Wildcat took command shortly after the start, set early fractions of 22.13 and 46.60 on her way to a final time of 1:04.63, and increased her career earnings to $221,649 with her fourth victory in five lifetime starts.  As the odds-on choice of the fans, Selva paid $3.80, $2.80 and $2.20.

Selva, trained by Irish-born David Carroll, won the Sorority Stakes on the main track at Monmouth and the Glorious Song Stakes on the Polytrack at Woodbine on her way to a 3-for-3 juvenile campaign. Her only career loss was a second-place finish in the Tiffany Lass Stakes here last month.

"I had a lot of confidence in this filly," said winning jockey Robby Albarado, who extended his Fair Grounds record for career stakes victories to 101. "We used her quickness to take advantage of the No. 1 post position."

Carroll also saddled second-place finisher Fleet Streak, who returned $5.20 and $3 while a neck to the good of On the Menu, who paid $3.20 to show.

In what has become a three-way battle in Fair Grounds' jockey standings, Albarado, Jamie Theriot and James Graham each had two wins on the special Tuesday program. Theriot, last year's leading rider, still leads the way this season with 63, with six-time Fair Grounds leader Albarado (61) and Graham (59) in close pursuit.

Racing resumes Friday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:30 p.m. CST.

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.