Home of the Louisiana Derby

Windward Islands Tops "Buddy D" Field Friday at FG

NEW ORLEANS, La (November 24, 2008) - Sam-Son Farms' Windward Islands is the starting highweight at 121 pounds and the 5-2 morning line choice in Friday's $60,000 "Buddy" Diliberto Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The third running of the Diliberto - named in honor of the late local newspaper, television and radio personality - is scheduled at about 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

Windward Islands was beaten less than four lengths in the 2007 Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine and is slated for his third start back after a layoff of nearly 12 months.

In his return in a Keeneland allowance race on Oct. 4, Windward Islands proved more than three lengths the best in a 1 3/16-mile outing over firm going. He returned to Canada to run fourth in the Grade II Sky Classic over a Woodbine lawn listed as yielding Oct. 25.

Louisiana-born jockey Corey Lanerie is listed to ride the 4-year-old gray gelding for trainer Mark Frostad Friday.

Don Benge's Wise River, front-running upset winner of Hawthorne's Grade III Carey Memorial Handicap Sept. 27 in Chicago, is the 7-2 second choice in the Diliberto morning line, and is slated to shoulder 118 pounds.  Following the Carey, the Clark Hanna trainee shipped to South Florida for Calder's Grade III Miami Mile Handicap Oct 18 to finish second.  Jockey Francisco Torres, who has a pair of four-win days in the first two weekends of the Fair Grounds meet, will be in the irons.

Also assigned 118 pounds is Kinsman Stable's Classic Campaign, the 4-1 early third choice.  Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and to be ridden by Pat Valenzuela, who teamed up for a pair of stakes wins during Fair Grounds opening weekend, Classic Campaign won the 2007 Carey Memorial but has finished sixth in allowance company in his two most recent starts this year.

Completing the Diliberto field is General Charley, 9-2, with James Graham up; Gentleman Chester, 6-1 with Donnie Meche aboard; Gun Salute, 6-1, with defending jockey champion Jamie Theriot astride; and Sidcup, 10-1 with Jesse Campbell in the irons.

First post for Friday's 10-race card is 12:15 p.m., 15 minutes earlier than the regular post time.

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.