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Pair of Louisiana Futurities
Highlight Friday’s New Year’s Eve Card
Likely favorites Bron and Brow, Free Like a Girl
both endured tough losses on Champions Day
New Orleans (December 30, 2021) – If the Fair Grounds’ main track were a basketball court, there’s no doubt Gary Barber’s Bron and Brow would have pleaded for a foul on Louisiana Champions Day. Tugging while in tight between horses, the 2-year-old son of Gormley was steadied along, checked, shuffled and held up on the turn. Off heels late, he rallied to just miss behind the undefeated, Dallas Stewart-trained Unified Report. With a clear lane to the hoop in Friday’s $107,900 Louisiana Futurity, Bron and Brow will be tough to deny, but with the speedy Charco and the classy Big Scully sure to unleash a full court press of their own, a victory is no slam dunk.
By the $5,000 stallion Gormley, the 6-5 boys Futurity favorite Bron and Brow was purchased for $35,000 as Equine Sales of Louisiana yearling. Flipped for $200,000 at the OBS Spring Sale, expectations were naturally high. Third on debut for trainer Mark Casse in what has turned out to be a key maiden race at Del Mar on November 13, he invaded his home state for his follow-up run, and if not for a troubled voyage, he easily could have won.
“We had a horrible trip,” assistant trainer David Carroll said of the Champions Day run. “He was loaded the whole way, had to check hard off heels, then had to wait for room. He closed fast. To me, he was much the best horse in the race. He’s a talented colt and we look forward to running him back. That’s racing.”
Adam Beschizza gets his first try on Bron and Brow from post 3.
Set to oppose Bron and Brow is Spendthrift Farm and Corinne and William Heiligbrodt’s Charco (3-1 ML). Never off the board from five lifetime starts, this son of El Deal battled a rapid pace in the Louisiana Juvenile and held well for third, beaten just a half-length by Bron and Brow for the place spot. He’ll break from the rail for trainer Steve Asmussen with James Graham up.
Following his win in the Louisiana Juvenile with Unified Report for Valene Farms, trainer Dallas Stewart was already looking forward to the Futurity.
“I’ll win that one too,” Stewart said. “With Big Scully.”
Also owned by Valene Farms, this Cross Traffic gelding summered at Saratoga. Purchased for $20,000 as a OBS October yearling, he ran in consecutive auction restricted maiden special weight sprints, finishing third on debut in advance of a sloppy track win in the follow-up start on August 19. Ambitiously placed 18 days later in the Hopeful (G1), he broke poorly and was super wide every step of the way, but he did not disgrace himself, finishing sixth of 11 at odds of 85-1. Nearly four months since last raced, he returns off a forward series of drills with Brian Hernandez, Jr. in the saddle from post five.
Completing the field for the colts & geldings edition of the Louisiana Futurity (race 5 at 3:05 p.m. CT), with post position, jockey/trainer and morning line odds: Southern Legacy Thoroughbreds’ Pocket Money (post 2, Ty Kennedy/David Gomez, 5-1 ML), a winner at first asking at Delta Downs on December 17; Roy Investments’ That One Guitar (post 4, Mitchell Murrill/Eric Henry, 20-1 ML), a debuting homebred by Star Guitar who RNA’ed for $95,000 as Equine Sales of Louisiana yearling; and Greg Norman’s I Like Dreaming (post 6, Brianne Culp/Nathan Hatcher, 20-1 ML), a five-time maiden who finished fifth over a mile in his most recent start on December 5.
In $112,000 Louisiana Futurity for the fillies, Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl Deville and Chasey Pomier’s (trainer) Free Like a Girl eyes her fourth stakes win and fifth overall off a runner-up performance behind the 93-1 shot Buckley Bunny in the Louisiana Lassie on Champions Day.
Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 11, she was stuck in tight between horses while stalking from mid-pack. She fought on gamely to the wire, only to get swooped by the deep closing longshot late.
The winner of the D. S. Shine Young Futurity at Evangeline and the Louisiana Jewel and the open company My Trusty Cat at Delta Downs in advance of the Lassie, the daughter of El Deal is scheduled to make her ninth career start before her third birthday with regular rider Pedro Cotto, Jr. astride.
The fifth (Myers Horse Racing’s Won Day – post 8, Brian Hernandez, Jr./Allen Landry, 5-1), sixth (Al and Bill Ullweling’s Basalt Street – post 7, Mitchell Murrill/Gary Scherer, 6-1) and eighth place (Thompson Racing’s Wholelottamo – post 3, Adam Beschizza/Scott Gelner, 8-1) from the Lassie also return for the ladies’ Futurity, and several new shooters could make their presence felt.
A winner at first asking at 19-1 on November 27, Thomas Galvin’s A G’s Charlotte (post 9, Deshawn Parker/Patricia West, 8-1 ML) defeated Beleout in the process, and that filly returned to finish a very respectable fourth in the Lassie.
It took her six tries to break her maiden, but Harry Benoit’s Serape does possess two previous stakes placings behind Free Like a Girl. She leaves from post 2 with Colby Hernandez aboard (5-1).
Completing the field for the fillies edition of the Louisiana Futurity (race 9 at 5:07 p.m. CT), with post position, jockey/trainer and morning line odds: Darrel Bravenec’s Half Page (post 1, Rene Diaz/Karen Jacks, 12-1); an open company debut winner at Remington Park on December 3; Kevin Fontenot’s Drop Dead Sexy (post 5, Jose Riquelme/Shane Wilson, 10-1 ML); and Dennis Milligan’s Custom for Tina (post 6, Jorge Guzman/Henry Johnson, 8-1) a winner at first asking in the slop at Delta Downs on December 18.
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 150th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 109th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 25, 2021 through March 27, 2022. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.