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Two New Stakes Races Top Fair Grounds Opening Day
NEW ORLEANS, La (November 12, 2008) - Opening Day of Fair Grounds' 137th season Friday features not only the grand opening of the track's new slots facility, but a pair of new stakes races.
The inaugural runnings of the $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap for fillies and mares on the turf and the $60,000 Si Cima Stakes for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares will serve as co-features for the first of 87 days of Fair Grounds racing.
Diana and Guy Snowden's Stormy West, fifth in Keeneland's Grade I First Lady Stakes Oct. 3 behind eventual Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Forever Together, has been installed as the slight 3-1 morning line choice in Friday's Blushing K. D., to be contested at about 1 1/16-miles over Fair Grounds' Stall-Wilson turf course.
The Blushing K. D. is named in honor of the brilliant daughter of Blushing John who won the1997 Fair Grounds Oaks and then captured the Kentucky Oaks later that spring.
Serving as the co-feature on Friday's 10-race program is the Si Cima Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile affair on the main track. Looming the 9-5 morning-line choice in that test is Foxwood Plantation Ltd.'s Collectzcat, heroine of the $60,000 Gardenia Stakes at Delta Downs Oct. 31. The Si Cima will serve as a prep for Louisiana Champions Day Ladies here on Dec. 13.
Although Stormy West was apparently overmatched in the First Lady, the daughter of Gone West was beaten less than a length when runner-up in Belmont's $78,000 Positive Gal Sept. 5. She is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and has Pat Valenzuela aboard Friday.
The field for the Blushing K. D. - from the rail out with weights and jockeys - includes Whisper to Me, 117, Corey Lanerie; Cat Hop, 115, E. J. Perrodin; Barbette, 116, Eddie Martin Jr.; New Edition, 116, Donnie Meche; Love to Tell, 113, Francisco Torres; Royal Madame, 114, Carlos Gonzalez; Stormy West, 118, Valenzuela; Tears I Cry, 116, Jamie Theriot; Pretty Squall, 114, Lonnie Meche; Final Refrain, 114, Jesse Campbell; Tortuga Flats, 118, Kirk LeBlanc; Shares Perfection, 116, David Bourque; You Dancing Devil, 117, James Graham; and Demisemiquaver, 115, Curt Bourque.
The field for the Si Cima - from the rail out with jockey assignments - consists of Lew's Gray, Kirk LeBlanc; Collectzcat, Donald Simington; Leestown Light, David Bourque; Royal Madame, Carlos Gonzalez; Sammie Sam, Francisco Torres; Madame Falcon, Pat Valenzuela; Cutie Sabrina, Billy Patin; Go Atm, Corey Lanerie; and My Friend Bele, Donnie Meche.
First post on Friday is 12:30 p.m. CST. The Blushing K. D. is the eighth race on the program, followed by the Si Cima.
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.