Star Guitar Tunes Up for Saturday's Louisiana Champions Day
The 20th anniversary edition of Louisiana Champions Day will be run this Saturday at Fair Grounds as an expanded 13-race program with a special early first race post time of 12:10 p.m., but the main attraction of the afternoon, as always, will be the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, the richest race of the day, run at nine furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.
Emerging as the main attraction in the Classic for the second consecutive year will be Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar, who would make history by winning a Champions Day race for the fourth consecutive year.
Star Guitar will be trying to repeat his victory in last year’s Classic, while in 2008 he took down winning honors in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint and in 2007 captured the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.
On Monday, the 5-year-old son of Quiet American went an easy half-mile in 49.20 just after the break with trainer Al Stall Jr. looking on intently from his backstretch perch.
“That was just about what I was looking for,” said Stall to those standing nearby. “He went fine. The important work was last week (when Star Guitar went a bullet five-eighths 1:00.40). He should be ready.”
After being idle almost three months since his victory in the $100,000 Evangeline Mile Handicap August 14, Star Guitar ran fourth in Delta Downs’ $100,000 Gold Cup Nov. 5, but now appears ideally set up for his run at history on Saturday. Along with Jac Mac Stable’s mare Superior Storm, who will be running in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies, they could become the first horses to ever win four Louisiana Champions Day races at Fair Grounds, and up the ante once again in the public consciousness of the accredited Louisiana-bred program in the process.
SUPERIOR STORM APPEARS SET FOR HER BEST EFFORT IN ‘LADIES’ – Jac Mac Stable’s Superior Storm won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie as a 2-year old in 2007, the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies in 2008 and repeated her score in that test last year, but was severely tested over a sloppy track obviously not to her liking.
In fact, the superior storm that hit Fair Grounds on Dec. 12 caused a week-long postponement of the rest of the 2009 Louisiana Champions Day program just after Superior Storm’s race, but fortunately, in the long-range weather forecast for Saturday’s 20th anniversary edition of the gala afternoon showcasing accredited Louisiana-breds, no such deluge is predicted.
“She’s always given her best effort every time I’ve led her over,” said trainer Richard Jackson Monday morning when asked, “but I really think she prefers a fast track over a sloppy one. Luckily, she was able to overcome the track conditions last year and still got the job done.
“I thought she worked well yesterday (Sunday),” said Jackson of the five-furlong move recorded in 1:02.40. “I thought her last race at Delta was a good one (when she won the $100,000 Magnolia Stakes Nov. 5) and I feel like she’s coming up to this race just as good as she’s ever been.”
Superior Storm, a 5-year-old mare by Stormy Atlantic, has also run some very impressive races in open company. Last year, prior to her gutsy win in the 2009 Ladies here at Fair Grounds in the slop, she was easily second best in Oaklawn’s Grade I Apple Blossom on the dirt track in Arkansas and then ran second in Lone Star Park’s Grade III Ouija Board Handicap in her next start over the Texas grass.
GARY WEST FAN EDUCATION SEMINAR DEC. 18 – Veteran turf writer and handicapper Gary West will kick off a new Fan Education series with a free hour-long seminar before the races on Santa Super Saturday, Dec. 18. “Spicy Odds, Sharp Horses and Black Swans: Winning Strategies at the Racetrack” will cover both basic handicapping principles as well as advanced approaches to turning a long-term profit. West, born and reared in New Orleans, covers horse racing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The seminar is set for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Room on the second floor of the Grandstand. The monthly Fan Education series will continue on every graded stakes day: Road to the Derby Kickoff Day on Jan. 22, Louisiana Derby Preview Day on Feb. 19 and Louisiana Derby Day on March 26.