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'Shytoe' Solid Choice in Saturday's $125,000 Bayou Handicap

NEW ORLEANS, La. (February 19, 2009) - John Wieczorek's Shytoe Lafeet, clearly second best behind Stormy West in the Furl Sail Handicap and Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap, sidesteps that rival and looms the strong 8-5 morning-line choice in the $125,000 Bayou Handicap for older fillies and mares Saturday at Fair Grounds.

The Bayou, which includes $50,000 in purse money from Breeders' Cup Ltd., will be run at about 1 1/8 miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

Trained by Larry Jones, Shytoe Lafeet won her first outing over the local lawn by 2 1/4 lengths Dec. 4 before bowing to Stormy West by three-quarters of a length in the Furl Sail and one-length in the Marie Krantz.

The daughter of King of Kings must shoulder the top impost of 121 pounds Saturday, most of which will be made up by regular rider Gabriel Saez.

As a battle-tested veteran of graded stakes company, Meribel also figures as a top contender in the Bayou. The Peaks and Valleys mare finished sixth, beaten four lengths, in her only start this year when sent west for Santa Anita's Grade II San Gorgonio Handicap Jan. 4. Before that, she was seventh in Churchill's Grade III Cardinal Handicap last fall.

Others worthy of consideration in the Bayou include Love to Tell, best by a head in Fair Grounds' Pago Hop Stakes Dec. 6 and a creditable third in the Marie Krantz, as well as Nans Joy, a one-length victress in optional claiming company over the New Orleans grass on Jan. 29.

From the rail out, with jockeys, weights and odds, the Bayou Handicap field is comprised of Sharbat, Corey Lanerie, 116 (8-1); My Three Sisters, Shaun Bridgmohan, 114 (8-1); Love to Tell, Justin Shepard, 119 (8-1); Meribel, Miguel Mena, 118 (7-2); Whisper to Me, James Graham, 114 (15-1); Mizzcan'tbewrong, Jesus Castanon, 117 (10-1); Shytoe Lafeet, Saez, 121 (8-5), and Nans Joy, Robby Albarado, 118 (9-2).

First post on Saturday, the third of six consecutive days of racing over Mardi Gras week at Fair Grounds, is 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.