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Vanquisher Favored in Buddy D.; Somme Tops Competitive Pago Hop

The 25th anniversary edition of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes for sophomore fillies over the Stall-Wilson turf course will be bundled with the fifth running of the $60,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap for 3-year-olds and up – also on the grass – as the co-featured highlights on the second Saturday of Fair Grounds’ 2010-2011 meeting this weekend.

James and Alice Sapara’s Somme, who has run well in four straight Woodbine stakes over Canadian grass has been installed as the lukewarm choice in the Pago Hop, at about one mile over the local lawn.

In the Diliberto Memorial, named in honor of the late local television and radio personality, Kinsman Stable’s Vanquisher journeys from Tampa to be tabbed at a tepid 3-1 in the about 1 1/16-mile test.

Somme, trained by Josie Carroll, is a daughter of Theatrical who will have Shane Sellers in the irons for the first time after finishing fifth but beaten less than three in her last start in the $193,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes on Aug. 28 at Woodbine. Previously, she had finished fourth in the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes Aug. 1 when only beaten a length, second in the $150,000 Ontario Damsel July 10 when beaten three-quarters, and won the $118,000 Alywow Stakes on June 13.

Augustin Stable’ Kitty Love, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, raced a fast-closing third in her last start, versus second level allowance company at Churchill Nov. 10, despite racing wide, and is the 4-1 second choice in the Pago Hop morning line. Rosie Napravnik is slated for the stirrups.

Completing the Pago Hop field is Cave Creeker, Jesse Campbell up; The Rumor’s True, Richard Eramia; Millennia, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Battle Buster, Miguel Mena; Doe Run, Robby Albarado; Forty Nine Sox, F. T. Rodriguez; Our Miss Brookside, John Jacinto; Valli With a Vow, James Graham; Silver La Belle, Jamie Theriot; Caminadora, Kerwin Clark; Stage Magic, Corey Lanerie; and Ice Mist, Carlos Gonzalez.

Caminadora and Ice Mist are coupled in the Pago Hop wagering.

In the Diliberto Memorial, Vanquisher will be asked to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne Oct. 2. Before that the Gulch gelding posted back-to-back wins in Mountaineer’s $85,000 West Virginia Speakers Cup Aug. 7 and the $75,000 Labor Day Stakes Sept. 6.

Capable of providing strong competition for Vanquisher in the Diliberto Memorial are Feel The Thunder Stable’s Gran Estreno, winner of the last two renewals of Arlington’s Grade III Washington Park Handicap, who is 7-2 in the Diliberto morning line, and Team Block’s Amazing Results, 9-2, who upset Vanquisher in the Carey Memorial but was then far back in Woodbine’s $103,000 Labeeb Stakes over yielding ground in Canada Oct. 31.

Vanquisher must shoulder the top impost of 121 pounds, most of which will be made up by jockey James Graham. Gran Estreno gets in with 119 including Robby Albarado and Amazing Results is assigned 120 with Rosie Napravnik up.

Others in the Diliberto Memorial Handicap, with corresponding jockeys and weights are: Caberneigh, Trey Agilar, 116; Adriano, Corey Lanerie, 116; Strike Again, Miguel Mena, 120; Ready Set, Jamie Theriot, 118; RecapturethegloryJesse Campbell, 117; and Valid Message, Richard Eramia, 112.