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Stormy West Unleashes Strong Late Run in Furl Sail Handicap


NEW ORLEANS, La. (December 27, 2008) - Diana and Guy Snowden's Stormy West broke through the gate prior to the start, but reloaded and then used a determined late run to capture the $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Fair Grounds.

"I can't remember the last time I rode a horse that broke through the gate and then went on to win," said jockey Patrick Valenzuela. "She was really full of herself today, but then she rated kindly for me and hung on good in the last part of it."

Stormy West, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, wore down Shytoe Lafeet in the late stages for her second stakes win of the meet. She captured the off-the-turf Blushing K.D. Handicap last month.

As the lukewarm choice of the fans in the field of 12 older fillies and mares, Stormy West paid $8.60, $5.20 and $3. She covered about 1 1/16 miles over Fair Grounds' Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:45.41 and increased her career earnings to $328,653 with her sixth victory in 19 lifetime starts.

Shytoe Lafeet paid $5.60 and $3.80 as the runner-up, while third-place finisher Nans Joy, also conditioned by Mott, returned $4.40 to show.

Le Cordon Bleu made the early pace with fractions of :24.51 and :48.79 before fading to ninth.

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

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.