Stay Put Staying Put for Louisiana Derby
Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Stay Put, fifth in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 20 despite a troubled trip, breezed a half-mile in 49.80 Thursday morning at Fair Grounds and remains on track for the upcoming $750,000 Louisiana Derby on March 27.
“So far, so good,” said trainer Steve Margolis Friday morning. “He worked well yesterday and he came out of it real well today. We’ll work him going five-eighths another seven or eight days from now and he’ll probably have another work after that.”
Winmore LLC and Robert and Lawana Low’s Cool Bullet, Stay Put’s stablemate who won the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes here this season and then finished fourth in the Grade III Lecomte Jan. 23, also worked the four furlongs Thursday in 49.80 but is being aimed in a different direction.
“Right now, we’re thinking about sending him to Turfway for the ($50,000) Hansel (March 27) if we can’t find a race for him here,” said Margolis. “I think we’re going to keep him sprinting for awhile.”
On the work tab for Margolis last Monday was Martin Cherry’s Visavis, who breezed a “bullet” half-mile move in 48 flat.
“We hit a little bump in the road with (Visavis) awhile back, but I think if we can get two more good works into her we can train her up to the Fair Grounds Oaks,” Margolis said of the March 26 showcase race for 3-year-old fillies in New Orleans.
Four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners, incidentally, have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks on the day before the Kentucky Derby at the Twin Spires oval, including eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra last year.
Also likely to appear from the Margolis barn on Fair Grounds Oaks Day March 26 is Cherry’s Northern Belle, who won Oaklawn’s $50,000 American Beauty Jan. 16. That daughter of Northern Afleet is being pointed for the $60,000 Bienville for older fillies and mares at about five and a half furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course that Friday.
Likely from the Margolis barn on Louisiana Derby Day is the Kleins’ Cash Refund, who won the $75,000 Gaudin Memorial Jan. 23 and is being prepared for the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stales at six furlongs on that Saturday.
Amoss Armed for Louisiana Derby
Two sophomores from trainer Tom Amoss’s barn are under consideration for the upcoming Derby Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, but one is more likely than the other.
Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, winner of the Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23 but the victim of a slow pace when sixth in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 20, breezed a half-mile in 50.60 last Monday while remaining on target for the $750,000 local Derby.
“It was just a maintenance move,” said Amoss. “(Ron the Greek’s) big work will come next week.”
The Amoss-trained Backtalk, owned by Gold Mark Farm, who won Churchill’s Grade III Bashford Manor and Saratoga’s Grade II Sanford last year as a juvenile and returned to competition as a sophomore Feb. 26 to win Delta’s $75,000 Sportsman’s Paradise Stakes, is still under consideration for the Louisiana Derby but not as certain as Ron the Greek.
“I’m a little concerned that coming back that quick might be a shade too fast for him,” Amoss said. “We’ll see how he does over the next few days.”
Gold Mark Farm’s Double Espresso, heroine of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Pan Zareta Stakes Feb. 20 and another Amoss trainee, breezed four furlongs in 50.20 Wednesday morning here and remains a possibility for Fair Grounds’ upcoming inaugural running of the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies March 13, where she would likely be forced to match strides with Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
Maximus Ruler Gets Favorable Update
Don Benge, Clark Hanna and Michael Bell’s Maximus Ruler, who was a late withdrawal from the Grade II Risen Star Stakes with what was an undetermined injury at the time, may be able to return to competition sooner than expected because trainer Clark Hanna personally vanned his colt to Lexington, Kentucky, for a bone scan.
“I told the owner I wanted to have him checked out and what I thought we should do and he was in agreement,” said Hanna Friday morning. “Now, (Maximus Ruler) is coming along quite well and he might be able to return to competition in late May or early June.”