Author: joe.kristufek

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After Clairiere comes La Crete – Cavorting’s Second Foal Nominated to Silverbulletday
Nominees released for all six January 22 “Road to the Derby Day” stakes
 

New Orleans (January 11, 2022) – Mapping out a talented horse’s racing career can be difficult, but it helps to have a scout show the way. Clairiere’s sensational 3-year-old surge for the Kentucky Oaks began with a win in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds and her half sister, Stonestreet Stable’s La Crete who is nominated and expected to run in the Silverbulletday, looks to take a very similar path.

The nominations for the 30th running of the $150,000 Silverbulletday have been released, and 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks points have helped entice 13 sophomore fillies for this 1 mile 70 yards main track contest. The Silverbulletday is one of six stakes on the “Road to the Derby Day” card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, which takes place on January 22. First post will be at 12:05 pm CT.

Unlike her sister who imposes her will in the late stages, La Crete showed her early interest winning the November 20 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on the lead through all the calls after a brief duel through the first turn with Late Night Lady. That forward style could prove useful given the success of early speed so far at Fair Grounds meet. But if past tactics of other nominees holds up, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro will likely have early company. Nominated by Al Stall Jr., Columbine’s Stables Fannie and Freddie has shown her pressing tactics most recently beaten a neck when earning 4 Oaks points in the Untapable on the locally contested “The Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” on December 26.

Todd Pletcher leads all trainers with three Silverbulletday nominees: Red Oak Stables’ Goddess of Fire, Repole Stables’ Gratitude, and Westerberg Limited, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B.Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Sweet as Pie.

All horses nominated for the 109th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) are also eligible for the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) with the top four finishers receiving Kentucky Derby points (10-4-2-1). Standouts include Epicenter, Pappacap, Tiz the Bomb, Smile Happy, Rattle N Roll, Cyberknife, Oviatt Class and Zandon.

Finishing third in the Clark (G1), Midnight Bourbon is prepped and ready for his consistent nemesis, Mandaloun, who makes his return in the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) at 1 mile 1/16. Having raced five times prior, Midnight Bourbon tallies three higher finishes of their five prior bouts.

Michelle Lovell and Griffon Farms’ Just Might and Susan Moulton’s Manny Wah have both been nominated by their respective trainers–Michelle Lovell and Wayne “Catman” Catalano–for the 69th running of the $100,000 Duncan F. Keener Stakes 5.5 furlong turf sprint. Just Might has won the last two, but Manny Wah had the upper hand winning last year’s edition of the Kenner.

The 36th Running Of The $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes going 1 mile 1/16 over the Stall Wilson Turf Course has taken 36 nominations. Among many standouts: Hugh Robertson nominates Mr. D (G1) winner, Wolfe Racing’s Two Emmys; Steve Asmussen nominates the “Buddy” Diliberto winner, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Halo Again; Cherie Deveux nominates David Ingordo and Gmack Racing’s last out 2nd-level allowance winner Own Agenda; and Michael Maker nominates Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass, last seen winning the Sea Biscuit (G2) at Del Mar.

Nominations for fillies looking to prove their prowess going 1 mile 1/16 over the turf have closed for the 23rd running of the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz. Narola and Anderson Farms Ontarion’s Summer in Saratoga won with last-second dramatics last out in the Blushing KD and is nominated by trainer Joe Sharp.

“The Road to the Derby Day” at Fair Grounds takes place on January 22 with a first post of 12:05 pm CT. The post position draw will take place on Saturday, January 15. For a complete list of the nominees for the six stakes races courtesy of Equibase, along with past performances, click here. 

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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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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Mandaloun to Make 4-year-old Debut in Louisiana Stakes

Last year’s Risen Star to renew acquaintances with Midnight Bourbon

New Orleans (January 10, 2022) – The beaten favorite in last year’s Lecomte (G3), Juddmonte’s Mandaloun is set to take the stage again one year later, this time to make his 4-year-old debut in the $150,000 Louisiana on “Road to the Derby Day” on Saturday January 22 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

“That’s our plan,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He’s really come to hand quick. He looks amazing. Happy with the way his weight is and how he’s taken shape. Excited about getting him back going this year and we will see how things go on January 22.”

Mandaloun shook off his third place finish in the Lecomte by winning the Risen Star (G2) in his very next start. He was a virtual no show in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), but bounced back with a huge second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve. He later won the Pegasus at Monmouth in advance of a near miss in the July 17 Haskell (G1), the final start of his sophomore campaign.

“He needed time off,” Cox said. “He made that decision easy. We stopped on him and gave him time. For horses to progress, whether it be from (age) two to three or three to four, they need a break. He’s received his break and he’s come back.”

The son of Into Mischief returned to the work tab on November 28 at Churchill, and he posted his seventh breeze since returning to training on Sunday at Fair Grounds, stopping the timer in 1:13 1/5 for six furlongs.

“Listen, I’m not going to tell you that he’s working better than ever because he’s always a very, very good work horse to begin with,” Cox said. “I think anybody that watched him train up to the Kentucky Derby could believe the way he ran (second at 26-1), the way he was training. He’s definitely working as well as he was leading up to the Derby, or the Haskell, so we’re in a good spot with him. I think this is a race that makes a lot of sense as far as getting back racing and seeing how it goes.”

Also confirmed for the Louisiana is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, who, like Mandaloun, also launched a very successful sophomore campaign at Fair Grounds.

“They’ve raced against one another, let’s see, one, two, three, four maybe five times, I don’t know, it’s a lot,” Cox said. “They’ve mixed it up and made it exciting. Rivalries are good for racing. Midnight Bourbon is a very good horse. He’s going to be very tough to beat in that he’s not coming in off much of a layoff and we are. He might be a little tighter. He’s a big beautiful horse. It will be an exciting match-up. We’re looking forward to it.”

Should he perform well, the Mandaloun camp could have designs on the $20 million Saudi Cup on February 26

“The Saudi Cup is something we’d look at,” Cox said. “Ultimately it will come down to the Juddmonte team. They will make the final determination. We work extremely well together. They’ll play it the way they always do. Horse comes first. It the horse is doing well and it makes sense, that’s definitely something we would look at doing. That was sort of our plan when we got back started in the fall. One step at a time.”

After running third with the favored Mandaloun last year, Cox has another talented project expected for the 2022 edition.  

“Right now we are looking at running Cyberknife,” Cox said. “He’s doing well. He breezed well here the other day (48 4/5 on January 8). I think he’s a good colt, I really do.”

Disqualified after crossing the line first in his career debut at Churchill, his greenness got him beat in Louisville six weeks later, this time on the square. Stretched out around two turns for the first time on December 26 at Fair Grounds, he took a clear advantage in the stretch, but nearly coughed it up late.

 “He’s obviously raced erratically in all three starts down the lane,” Cox said. “I thought he was very impressive here last time up until the last little bit. It’s all mental with him. It’s nothing we can really fix with him in the mornings. He’s a colt that has always been a little tough to handle. He’s not straightforward. He’s the kind of horse who requires a good hand. He’s very immature. I think the talent is there, but he’s got to take a step forward mentally, and I think he will. He just needs to race and get some miles underneath him in the afternoons. I think he’s going to be a player in the 3-year-old division.”

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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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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Nominees Announced — The Louisiana Derby Continues to Entice the Nation’s Top 3-Year Olds

With Kentucky Derby points on the line, nominees also eligible for the January 22 Lecomte and February 19 Risen Star
 

New Orleans (January 6, 2022) – Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, Country House, War of Will, O Besos and By My Standards. The list of recent 3-year old stars who have thrown down the gauntlet in the series of Kentucky Derby prep races at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots is long, and 2022 will be no different.

Nominations for the 109th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) closed with 84, and the headliners include Epicenter, Pappacap, Tiz the Bomb, Smile Happy, Rattle N Roll, Cyberknife, Oviatt Class and Zandon. Final nominations for The Louisiana Derby close on Saturday, March 12, 2022 by subscription of $800. $4,000 to enter, $4,000 additional to start. Supplemental nominations of $20,000 will be accepted at time of entry which shall include all fees.

The leader of Steve Asmussen’s 19 entries and stabled at Fair Grounds is Epicenter. Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, this colt by Gun Runner fittingly won the inaugural stake named for his sire at Fair Grounds on December 26, starting off 2022 with 10 Kentucky Derby points.

Winner of his first two, Mark Casse nominates Rustlewood Farm’s Pappacap. Last seen running second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1), Pappacap is one of 5 nominees for the trainer, who saddled War of Will to victory in both Lecomte and Risen Star in 2019. Two more stand-out nominations for the Casse barn are Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s God of Love, winner of the Grey (G3) on November 28 at Woodbine, and Barber’s Louisiana-bred standout Bron and Brow, who broke his maiden in the Louisiana Futurity Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 31.

Three of the five Kenneth McPeek nominees are considered early divisional front-runners – Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Tiz the Bomb, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and the Lucky Seven team of Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll. Winner of the Bourbon (G2) and the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile, the pedigree and success point Tiz the Bomb off the turf and towards the Derby trail. Rattle N Roll most recently won the Breeders Cup Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on October 9 while Smile Happy took the Kentucky Jockey Cup (G2) at Churchill Downs on “Stars of Tomorrow” day.

Led by Golden Square’s “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” maiden special weight winner Cyberknife, Brad Cox nominated eleven horses to the Louisiana Derby. Cyberknife finished first on debut but was disqualified to 2nd. Also nominated is Mark Detampal’s Naval Aviator, who looked impressive at Fair Grounds last out in nearly beating fellow nominee Trafalgar in a first-level allowance race last out.

Last seen winning the December 11 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy is nominated by Doug O’Neill, the trainer of last year’s Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie.

Finishing third in the Sham on January 1 for trainer Keith Desormeaux, James Downey’s Oviatt Class is another Louisiana Derby nominee to take note of.

The highlight of Joseph Saffie Jr.’s three nominations is Red Oak Stables’ Make It Big. Perfect from three starts, he was last seen defeating Osbourne in the Remington Park Springboard Mile on December 17.

Al Stall Jr. nominated a two-time winner in Columbine Stable’s Trafalgar and Spendthrift Farm’s Underhill’s Tab, who finished second in the Sugar Bowl Stakes last out.

Finishing second in the Remsen (G2) on December 4, Jeff Drown’s Zandon has been nominated by Chad Brown.
One of five nominees for Dallas Stewart, Valene Farm’s Unified Report is three-for-three after two impressive stakes victories, including the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.

Run at 1 3/16ths miles for the second time last year, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers. It is the fourth and final local prep on the Road to the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve to be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7.

On February 19, the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford, which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles two years ago, offers the top four finishers 50-20-10-5 points.

Up first on the January 22 “Road to the Derby” Day at Fair Grounds, it’s the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3), which was extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles last season, and for the fillies on the Kentucky Oaks trail, the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. The Lecomte awards the top four finishers in each race with 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby points.

For a list of nominees who are also eligible for the January 22 Lecomte (G3) and the February 19 Risen Star (G2); click here for their past performances, click here.

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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.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
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Fond Farewell to Fan Favorite, Barn Favorite Monte Man

New Orleans (January 4, 2022) – Over the last four years, one horse has been at the center of Louisiana racing and fans of the local sport – Ivery Sisters Racing’s Monte Man. His trainer and Fair Grounds’ 2021 title-winner, Ron Faucheux has announced that it is time for this 9-year old gelding to step away from the race track and to spend his retirement at Clear Creek Stud, where his sire Custom for Carlos stands.

“Val Murrel who owns Clear Creek, he bred Monte Man and is happy to take him in,” Faucheux said. “Clear Creek is the nicest farm in Louisiana–at this point, being a 9-year old, he’s been so great to us, we’d rather see him have a happy life from this point forward.”

Know that Monte Man is doing fine, but he did not come back from his Friday workout as hoped, giving connections pause about pursuing the plan of running in the Costa Rising Stakes, a race Monte Man won twice and finished 2nd in by a nose.

“He’s sound as can be,” Faucheux said. “Looks great, walks great, legs look good. He just has something a little feint. Something that some trainers would push through, but I’m not going to take any chances.”

Claimed for $25,000 by Ivery Sisters Racing in October of 2017, in his first start for trainer Ron Faucheux Monte Man won a local optional-claimer that December, which was the start of a seven-race winning streak. Monte Man went out in stakes-winning fashion, scoring the ninth and final stakes win of his career in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on December 11, 2021.

“I was looking at the win pictures last night,” Faucheux said. “He’s beaten some great horses. He hasn’t run worse than fourth since the end of his 4-year old career. Goes to show you how much heart that horse has. He might not run the best numbers as some of the Kentucky sprinters floating around the country, but he has been so consistent throughout the process. That’s all you can ask–they run to their ability.”

 All told, Monte Man finishes his career 50-18-8-9 with earnings of $794,223.

“I feel honored to have trained him throughout that process,” Faucheux said. “He’s been a barn favorite, a fan favorite, a special horse–you could hear it in John Dooley’s emotional call of his last race.”

“Here comes the gladiator, Monte Man with that battler’s heart for Adam Beschizza. Monte Man now an 18-time winner–well done Monte Man!” — John G. Dooley, Fair Grounds Track Announcer

 

O Besos is Back by a Nose!
Wins going Two, but Connections Consider One-turn Future
 

The fifth place finisher in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry Stephens’ O Besos made his much-anticipated return count, winning race #7 on Sunday, an $47,000 AOC for 4-year-olds and up. Beating 4.60-1 Intrepid Heart by a nose, O Besos was sent out as the .60-1 favorite.       

“He had to run a little harder than we were hoping for,” trainer Greg Foley said. “He got banged around a little out of the gate. I don’t know how much he loved it on the inside there.

Looked like he put Intrepid Heart away at the ⅛ pole.”

Now 8-3-1-1 with earnings of $320,224, all 3 wins have come at Fair Grounds with Brian Hernandez Jr. riding.

“We got that under his belt,” Foley said. “He looked great this morning, licked his tub, he didn’t act like it took anything out of him. The horse looks amazing. He’s put on 150 pounds of muscle in the right places. I couldn’t be any happier with the way he looks.”

After the Kentucky Derby, O Besos ran 2nd in the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 29, 2021. Winning at 1 1/16 miles off the bench on Sunday, his connections are now considering what’s next.

“I just got to figure out what this horse really wants to do,” Foley said. “I’m not so sure he is a true long-distance horse. He might be a monster going 7/8ths or a one-turn mile.”

Sent out as the 2.00-1 second favorite, 2019 Pennsylvania Derby winner who has not won a race since, Math Wizard finished last of the pack 20 lengths back.

Speaking of past Kentucky Derby horses, Foley and his team are also weighing their options for Lloyd Madison Farms, IV’s Major Fed, who was last seen finishing fifth in the locally run Tenacious Stakes the day after Christmas.

“Might be the same speech,” Foley said. “He could be great at one-turn. Other than that, all his brothers and sisters were really good turf horses, too, so we might stick him on the grass next time.”

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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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Joe Kristufek

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Fair Grounds Announces 15% Across the Board Purse Increase

Strong Early Business Prompts Daily Bump

New Orleans (January 3, 2022) – Inspired by strong handle during the first five weeks of the 150th racing season, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 15% purse increase across the board.

“We’re extremely excited to announce a 15% increase to our daily purse structure,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “Based on the strong early handle returns and continued support from our owners and horsemen, we are in a position to raise purses.”

The 15% across the board purse increase will go in effect immediately, beginning with the entries for the Thursday, January 13 card, which will be drawn on Thursday, January 6, 2022. Maiden special weight races will now be worth $52,000. The purse increase includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races.

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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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
[email protected]

 

Living Easy, Speedster Elle Z Wires Menard

Little pressure up front and tough trips for late-runners aids the cause

New Orleans (January 1, 2022) – Proving quick through her early fractions and demonstrating time and again that she will not quit, M Bar O’s Elle Z loomed large over a field who, on paper, threatened to contest front running antics. But the gate-to-wire winner of the 3rd running of the $75,000 Nelson J Menard Memorial Stakes instead took it easy out front, and increased her margin of victory for trainer Chris Hartman.

“She’s one-dimensional,” regular jockey Mitchell Murrill said. “You let her do her thing, stay out of her way and hope she’s the best of the day.”

And best she was, though the other horses with early speed never mustered much, leaving her with plenty in the tank in the end. Setting fractions similar to the second race of the day–a maiden special weight turf sprint, the 2.30-1 second choice Elle Z cleared the field while chased by Payntdembluesaway (5.70-1) through the opening quarter in 22:56. Little changed by the time they hit the 2nd call at 46.70, but the presser was done for as new threats rounded the turn. Eventual second-place finisher She Can’t Sing (9.30-1) took the turn 4-wide and had to steady after bumping a foe coming out of the bend, making it impossible to catch Elle Z who had put too many lengths between her and her foes, cruising home in 1:04.58 for the 5 ½ furlongs on good turf. Up for third, 1.80-1 betting favorite Time Limit, who had traffic to contend with in the stretch after saving ground throughout. After a good break and a pocket trip, Yes It’s Ginger (10.40-1) managed 4th–another horse who would have benefited from faster fractions softening up Elle Z.

“She broke great today and put herself in a great spot,” Yes It’s Ginger’s rider Brian Hernandez, Jr. said.  “Going around the turn I was right behind Elle Z knowing she would go on. Where we were from that position, I thought we were going to run her down.”

Accomplished on dirt and turf at Fair Grounds, having won a stakes race on each, Elle Z’s record is 16-7-3-0 racking up $355,283. Nailed by a nose last out in the Pan Zareta, today she never had to worry.

“She’s always been a good honest horse that tries 100%,” Murrill said. “Unfortunately the last time she did get nailed, but today she felt a little more relaxed in the post parade and leading into the first part of the race she was quite happy.”

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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.

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How High Can He Fly? Bron and Brow Shows Offensive Power Breaking His Maiden Against Stakes Company

Charco leads The Louisiana Futurity early, but proves 2nd best
 

New Orleans (December 31, 2021) – On the last day of his 2-year old campaign, Bron and Brow proves he has the makings of a horse on the rise. Twenty days after assistant trainer David Carroll said “He won’t be a maiden for long,” Gary Barber’s colt’s maiden win comes against stakes company in the $107,000 Louisiana Futurity over 6 furlongs on the dirt. 

Second favorite 2.30-1 Charco was sent to the lead by jockey James Graham and he blitzed the opening fractions in 22.09 and 45.59 before tightly-pressing .90-1 favorite Bron and Brow drove by hitting the top of the paint in 57.77 and kept on for the score while drifting out to beat the buzzer in 1:10.85. Third favorite 2.50-1 Big Scully ran third throughout but never threatened, finishing 9 ¼ lengths back. 

“He broke out a little right to be fair,” winning jockey Adam Beschizza said. “This horse is super talented and I know David [Carroll] and Mark [Casse] have believed in him since day one. We just had to overcome a little adversity there with the inquiry. He’s got a lot to learn, but he seemed to come out of that race very unexhausted so that just tells me he has a lot left in the locker there.”

Bred in Louisiana by J. Addock & Hume Wornall, after taking three shots Bron and Brow is 3-1-1-1 earning $91,820. After a third in November at Del Mar, this colt by Gormley was transferred from Peter Miller’s barn to the care of Mark Casse. Bron and Brow finished a troubled trip ½ length 2nd in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Sprint. Like his namesakes, LA Lakers power-duo Lebron James and Anthony Davis, Bron and Brow has loads of talent–unlike them, he is still proving green in his races. After breaking out from the gate and bumping his neighbor, the stewards called for an inquiry, which was not acted on. Passing Charco and finishing in the stretch, he ran erratically in the stretch. 

“We got the win in the end,” assistant trainer David Carroll said. “A little worrisome there but he’s a very talented colt. I’m very happy for Mr. Barber, a great way to end the year. This horse has got a lot of talent–very unlucky in his last race when he got the bad trip but he went very fast as well. Today was a much different race. Adam rode a great race, very aware of the horse he rode last time for Mr. Asmussen [Charco] and he kept him on his target.”

Again, similar to his namesakes: he’s won his first, but can he hang another stakes banner?

“We feel there is more to come from this horse,” Carroll said. “Mark [Casse] and Mr. Barber will talk about two turns, but there is a race early next month if they wish to take advantage of it, going a mile, so maybe that will be his next race, but that’s something they will talk about–we’ll enjoy this race for now.”

The connections believe Bron and Brow can fly higher as he turns the page to his 3-year old campaign. – Kilroy

 
Girls Futurity Winner Home “Free” Down the Stretch

Free Like a Girl wins her fourth stake of the season in runaway fashion
 

Making amends for her narrow defeat as the favorite in the Louisiana Lassie on Champions Day,  Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl Deville and Chasey Pomier’s (trainer) Free Like a Girl left no doubt as to who was best in the $109,600 Louisiana Futurity for the 2-year-old fillies. 

Away alertly as the 1.30-1 favorite, the daughter of El Deal stalked the early pace of Serape (11.70-1) though fractions of 22.33 and 46.29. Cut loose by regular rider Pedro Cotto, Jr. at the top of the stretch, she quickly took command, extending her margin of victory to 6 ¼ lengths under the wire in a final time of 1:11.11 for six furlongs. Wholelottamo (14.20-1) outkicked Serape for the place spot. Half Page was scratched at the gate. 

“We stuck with the plan to get her close to the pace,” Cotto, Jr. said. “When I got a chance, I put her in the clear, and she just did her thing today. I don’t think she’s even as good as she can get right now. That’s one thing that has impressed me about her. I think she’s just going to get better when she gets older.”

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite on Champions Day, Free Like a Girl was stuck in tight between horses while stalking from mid-pack. She fought on gamely to the wire, only to get swooped by a deep closing 93-1 longshot in Buckley Bunny late. On Friday, she left no doubt who was best in front of her many supporters. 

“We are very grateful to have her,” trainer Chasey Deville Pomier said. “She’s been amazing for us. The breeders, all of the connections. We’ve had a great year with her for sure. My dad owns a part, my daughter is in on it, me, the other owner used to be dad’s assistant when I was young, we’ve known the breeders for awhile, so yeah, it’s just a whole big ‘ole thing.” 

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, Free Like a Girl has now won five times from 10 starts since debuting on May 8 at Lone Star. Purchased for just $5,500 as a yearling, she has now banked $281,473. She’s run a lot and accomplished quite a bit in less than eight months, but shows no signs of slowing down. 

“Every day she trains great, we go day-to-day with her, as long as she’s training good, we keep going,” Pomier said. – Kristufek

 

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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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
Kevin.Ki[email protected]

Elle Z Lukewarm Morning-Line Favorite in Contentious Menard Memorial

Speedy Hartman filly looks to bounce back
from a narrow loss in her Pan Zareta title defense

New Orleans (December 31, 2021) – Twice a local stakes winner in her 15-race career, M Bar O’s Elle Z led every step of the way in the Pan Zareta Stakes last out. Every step except the most important one that is. Nailed in the final jump by Brooke Marie here four weeks ago, Elle Z will face a host of fresh challengers in Saturday’s $75,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The winner of the Pan Zareta the year before, the newly-turned 5-year-old daughter of City Zip also took the “off the turf” edition of the Mardi Gras on February 16 for trainer Chris Hartman. Installed as Mike Diliberto’s lukewarm 3-1 morning line favorite, she will leave from post 7 with regular pilot Mitchell Murrill astride.

“She came out of the Pan Zareta good,” Chris Hartman said.

With several horses who will likely be competing for the early lead, don’t expect Elle Z to do anything but send.

“That’s who she is,” Hartman said. “She ain’t gonna change.”

Lothenbach Stables’ She Can’t Sing has been a bit of an enigma during her 24-race career. She’s won three times on dirt and once on synthetics for trainer Chris Block, but she has failed to get her picture taken from six turf tries. She ran the race of her life two back over the one-turn dirt mile at Churchill, rolling home by 5 ¼ lengths while earning a career-best 97 Bris speed figure in the process. She drew post five with Jereth Loveberry aboard at 6-1.

“She is doing fine,” Chris Block said. “She’s coming into the race like she does in most races, she’s very happy. I don’t know that 5 and ½ furlongs is her best distance. I know grass is not her best surface, but she has run solid races on it in the past. There are others that are more accomplished on grass in there. But if there is a real hot pace she should be somewhat in a good spot turning for home to maybe be able to run them down.”

After competing at Saratoga, Belmont, Del Mar and Oaklawn Park in her last four starts, Three Diamond Farm’s Time Limit lands in New Orleans for her first local start. Second in the Matron (G3) while sprinting on the Belmont turf back in October of 2019, this 5-year-old New York-bred daughter of Bustin’ Stones just missed in the Senator Ken Maddy while dashing on the Del Mar turf two back. Recently second in a conditioned optional claiming allowance on Oaklawn dirt, this versatile Mike Maker trainee drew the rail with Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. (7-2 ML) aboard.

A $16,000 claimer a little more than two years ago, All My Hart Racing’s Payntdembluesaway has won eight of her last 11 starts for trainer Jane Cibelli, all in turf sprints. She won the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash Starter Stakes, and will look to add some black type to her resume on Saturday. James Graham takes the reins from post eight aboard this 9-2 morning-line shot.

Completing the field for the Nelson J. Menard Memorial (race 8 at 4:36 p.m. CT), with post position, jockey/trainer and morning line odds: Brilliant Racing & Tagg Team Racing’s Yes It’s Ginger (post 2, Brian Hernandez, Jr./Greg Foley, 8-1 ML), winner of the Chicken Fried Stakes at Lone Star and the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Preview at Ellis Park in 2021; John and Iveta Kerber and Jon Lapczenski’s Ain’t No Elmers (post 3, Adam Beschizza/Bret Calhoun, 6-1 ML), a four-time winner who was third in her only career try on turf); Jerry Namy’s Elle’s Town (post 4, Colby Hernandez/Karl Broberg, 6-1 ML), a five-time winner who was a close fourth last out in the Pan Zareta; and Conrad Farm’s Beyond Budget (post 6, Orlando Mojica/Mark Casse, 10-1 ML) a runaway winner of a second-level optional claiming allowance over 7 furlongs of Tapeta last time out.

Additional Quotes:
“Elle Z doesn’t seem to give in much, under any pace scenario,” Chris Block said. “But maybe there will be somebody that might push her a little harder than she wants to be pushed and maybe that will soften her up a little bit.”

“[She Can’t Sing] was coming into that race [October 2nd’s OC 80k/N3X at Churchill Downs] really good,” Chris Block said. “I didn’t expect that big of an effort out of her. But I thought she would run very well. She likes Churchill’s dirt surface a lot so I think her effort was due to the combination of some time in between races and the fact that she loved the Churchill surface.”

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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.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Joe Kristufek
Notes Writer/Media Relations
[email protected]

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.

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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.
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Joe Kristufek/Kevin Kilroy

Notes Writer/Media Relations

[email protected]

 

 

Reylu Gutierrez Scores Monday Stakes Hat Trick

Wins five of the 11 stakes run the past two days at Fair Grounds

New Orleans (December 27, 2021) – We could Chattalot about the Lovely Ride jockey Reylu Gutierrez has been on in 2021, but during the post-Christmas stakes extravaganza at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the 26-year-old native of Rochester, New York, conjured up a little Excess Magic in the Big Easy.

Gutierrez won with seven of his 17 mounts the past two days at Fair Grounds, five of them stakes. His winning mounts returned a total of $209.20 for a $12.30 return on investment. On Sunday he guided Gentle Soul ($35.00), Chess Chief ($22.20) and Halo Again ($30.80) to the Fair Grounds’ winner’s circle, and on Monday he followed up with victories aboard Hooperdrivesthboat ($83.80), Excess Magic ($6.60), Lovely Ride ($20.80) and Chattalot ($10.00).

“Feels great,” Gutierrez said after winning the final stakes of the day aboard Chattalot. “It’s a credit to (jockey agent) Jose Santos, Jr. No matter where he’s put me, we’ve been successful. We are calling Fair Grounds home, and we are doing very well. He does his due diligence. He does an excellent job with all of his riders. He puts me on these horses, and it’s for everybody, so I’m just thankful for Jose.”

For the year, Gutierrez has won 132 races while banking $4.8 million, both career highs, while taking on new racetracks and challenges seemingly every month. Entering Thursday’s card, he’s sits second in the Fair Grounds jockey standings with 17 wins from just 73 mounts (23%), three behind meet leader Colby Hernandez.

Two of Gutierrez’s Monday stakes scores came for trainer Bret Calhoun, whom he also credits for helping to jump start his career.

“When I ride for the Calhoun train it is really special,” Gutierrez said. “He’s one of the reasons I am here today.” — Kristufek

 
Excess Magic Gets the Bacon in Woodchopper

Scores first of two stakes wins on the day for trainer Bret Calhoun

In the $75,000 Woodchopper, Gutierrez placed the William T. Reed homebred Excess Magic (2.30-1 favorite) in the perfect pressing position on the outside of the pacesetting 18.10-1 longshot Rightandjust through early fractions of 24.43 and 49.76. He put that rival away off the turn for home and then held safe of close second choice Point Me By (2.50-1) to win by 1 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:38.08 for the mile on turf.

“His other horse (Who Took the Money) was the one I was most afraid of, so I guess he did me a favor by scratching him from the race,” Gutierrez said. “Both tracks (turf and dirt) are playing the way I like to ride. He (Excess Magic) was coming from a sprint to a route so I let him be a horse, get out there, and get in good position. On the backside I could feel everyone on top of us, so I could tell we were going pretty slow. He was ready to go and when I turned for home, I said ‘let’s go get some bacon’. He was hungry. I was hungry. Calhoun does a great job with his horses.”

The Woodchopper was the fourth win overall and first in a stake for Excess Magic (8-4-2-1), and it boosted his career bankroll to $164,171.

“He’s been a pretty consistent horse for us,” Calhoun said. He had a little injury last year and we had to back off. Being able to run in a sprint prepping for this (win on Nov. 26), it worked out great. The mile is ideal for him. He’s got tremendous turn of foot. Early on I was thinking we were a little (too) close (to the front), but that why I pay Reylu to ride him. He was right. The fractions were pretty slow and he had him right where he needed to be.” — Kristufek

 

Lovely Ride Works Out a Trip in Pago Hop

First career turf start is a stakes winning one for daughter of Candy Ride

Already a stakes winner on dirt, Allied Racing Stables Lovely Ride proved her versatility by winning her first ever start on turf, taking the $75,000 Pago Hop in what was a hard-fought battle down to the wire. It was the second stakes victory on the card for the team of trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Reylu Gutierrez.

              Away alertly from an outside post, Lovely Ride sat fourth while in the clear, two-wide down the backstretch while chasing moderate early fractions of 24.17 and 49.30 set by the longshot (25.60-1) Touch of Class. With the front-runner wandering about, she ducked inside of her mid-stretch, took the lead, and held safe of the resurgent 3.10-1 favorite Amiche and the late closing Princess Theorem (6.90-1) to score by a game ¾ of a length in a final time of 1:38.56 for one mile on turf. Only 3 ¼ lengths separated the top seven finishers.

“I had a delightful trip,” Gutierrez said. “She has enough tactical speed. I was able to break and come over (from the outside post). That was the whole game plan, we wanted to save ground. She took to it well. I have to credit Mr. (Bret) Calhoun and his brain because he has been brainstorming around with a couple of his horses and switching things up and he took the risk (of running on turf) given her pedigree. A lot of trainers don’t have the opportunity to do that, but he took his chance. His chess playing is paying off and he is making me look good and his horses look good, so credit to Mr. Calhoun.”

The winner of the Catherine Sophia on August 24 at Parx, Lovely Ride has looked dominant at times on dirt, but she’s been somewhat plagued by inconsistency.

“We thought pedigree-wise (by Candy Ride out of a Tiznow mare) she had a big chance to perform well on turf,” Calhoun explained. “Obviously this is the last 3-year old (restricted) race of the year. We were kind of out of options and so we thought we’d take a chance. We really thought she would handle the turf. It looks like she handled it well, and I look forward to her being even better on it next time. She looked like she was a little bit lost on it early on. By the time she figured out where she was going and what she was on, she finished up big and galloped out huge. It is great to have multiple options. We’re just going to have to sit back and look at the condition books and see what race suits us best.”

With the win, Lovely Ride bolstered her resume to 9-5-1-1 with earnings of $284,160. — Kristufek

 

Chattalot Lets His Speed Do the Talking in Sugar Bowl

With three stakes wins the past two days, trainer Steve Asmussen breaks out of his Fair Grounds “slump” in a big way

            Entering Sunday’s action, trainer Steve Asmussen had zero wins to show from 21 starters to open the 2021-22 racing season at Fair Grounds. On the other side of Monday, he now has four wins with three of them coming in stakes. So much for that “slump”.

            On the heels of a Sunday training triple, including stakes wins with Halo Again in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial and Epicenter in the inaugural running of the Gun Runner, Asmussen added a little icing to his holiday cake by winning Monday’s Sugar Bowl with the front-running Chattalot for Bloom Racing and David Bersen. It was the third stakes win on the card, and fifth in the last two days, for jockey Reylu Gutierrez.

            Away alertly from the rail, Chattalot (4.00-1) maintained his inside position while neck in neck with the 1.60-1 favorite Higher Standard through contested fractions of 22.05 and 45.35. He put that rival away on the turn for home, and the fended off a stretch challenge from Underhill’s Tab (5.90-1) to win by a game, half-length in a final time of 1:10.03 for the six furlong on the main track. It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to Blue Kentucky in third. Higher Standards was 5 ½ lengths back in sixth.

            “Today I just let him break and get his feet under him,” Gutierrez said. “I saw that no other horses were really getting away from him or going, so I just kind of took it to them. The rail has been good to me this weekend, so why not take it. When I saw (the favorite) Higher Standard just kind of pumping at the half mile pole, I was very confident.”

The winner of the first two starts of his career, the 2-year-old son of Midnight Lute was most recently seen finishing a tired fourth in the Lively Shively Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 27. With the win, he now boasts a record of 5-3-0-1 with earnings of $199,095. — Kristufek

 

 

 

Girl With a Dream was Filly With the Lead for a Brad Cox Letellier Exacta

Slow out of the gate, Com’ On Sweet Luv settles for second
 

Maybe it was more experience, maybe it was the break, maybe it was simply a matter that the most talented 2-year old filly won, but either way, the Brad Cox barn was front and center at Fair Grounds, sending out the Letellier Memorial Stakes $75,000 exacta with Girl With a Dream wiring the field and Com’ On Sweet luv running second.

“She broke sharp,” jockey Florent Geroux said of the winner. “I thought she was the best in the field. We didn’t know what to expect [in terms of running style]. We know she can be forwardly placed, but last time she came from the back at Churchill. I just felt I had the best horse in the race and she broke sharp so I took it from there. If someone wanted to go faster than me I would have let them go but that’s not how the race unfolded, how everything played out.”

In a dirt sprint race where it was unclear how the front end would unfold, jockey Florent Geroux capitalized on a sharp break from his mount. By Practical Joke and owned by Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister, Girl With a Dream was last seen closing into hot fractions in a first-level allowance on November 13 at Churchill Downs. In the Letellier she set the fractions of 22.49, 46.42 as the .70-1 favorite. 31.90-1 Runnin Happy kept within a length at the first call. The bettor’s choice of the two Steve Margolis horses, 4.50-1 Implosion, stalked and chased but never threatened for the lead. The other Margolis, 17.70-1 Mystique Saboteur, got away slow and passed tiring rivals for third. Despite coming away last from the gate, by the second call Marcelino Pedroza Jr. had guided Com’ On Sweet Luv through traffic, up within one length, then as close as the leader’s throatlatch. As they both got into their fillies, it was Girl With a Dream who proved best, synching the deal late in 1:10.84 for six furlongs.

“When [Come On’ Sweet Luv] came close to me at the eighth pole it seemed like she had plenty left,” Geroux said. “But we were able to fight her off in the last eighth of the mile.”

All three rides for Com’ On Sweet Luv have come under Marcelina Pedroza, Jr. The second place filly by Jimmy Creed broke her maiden out front last out at Fair Grounds on November 27, finishing strong after setting slow fractions.

“She got left at the gate a little bit,” Pedroza said. “She’s not the type of filly to break sharp in the first jump. By the third jump she is right up in the race. I don’t think it cost me the race. The other filly was better. We just got beat. On top of the stretch I felt like I had a shot. I grabbed a hold but he did too, so I was like let’s see who is the better filly right here. He had more horse than me, that’s it.”

The two-year old question du jour as we turn the calendar year: what’s next for the winner and will she stretch out?

“Maybe, but if so, probably still around one turn,” Brad Cox said. “I wouldn’t get super super crazy. Comparing her with other horses in our barn I am thinking she might be one to keep around one turn for the time being. She’s had five runs now at 2 so we’ll take a deep breath, regroup with her. It takes a little pressure off you going forward, now being a stakes winner.”

With the win, Girl with a Dream is 5-3-1-0 earning $170,720 in her brief and promising career. — Kilroy

 

Additional Quote:

“The way she ran last time we didn’t know what to expect,” Brad COx said “I actually thought the other one [Com’ On Sweet Luv] would break a little sharper. She broke the slowest of the group and then Marcelino put her in position. Opening quarter of 22 and 2 and I felt she was doing well and should have some punch down the lane. And she did a great job. Obviously, [Com’ On Sweet Luv] has black type finishing second. We’ll march forward, she still has n1x available left, a very big performance off a maiden win. She could come back in an allowance race or maybe a stakes if it makes sense; we’ll see how it goes.”

 

 

Add Dirt to The Top of the List: Versatile Audrey’s Time Keeps Getting Better

Beschizza takes the race to front runner Cheetara and outlasts her for second
 

Lothenbach Stables’ patient approach with Audrey’s Time paid off on Monday, as the soon to be 5-year-old mare won the $75,000 “Spanky” Broussard Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Making her 16th start over three racing campaigns, the daughter of Uncle Mo has raced 8 times with one win on turf, 1 win in her lone synth try, and in her 7th dirt start, she gets the trophy for trainer Neil Pessin and regular rider Corey Lanerie.

“She was just doing okay on the turf,” Pessin said. “I knew she had always worked well [on dirt], and we’d run her on the dirt before, but she was just maturing with every time out. I think that helped as much as anything, the time off we gave her and bringing her back slow.”

Run at 1 mile 70 yards, there was nothing slow about the front end. Ignacio Correas’ .90-1 favorite Cheetara set fast opening fractions of 23.74 and 47.07–the quickening through the second call was largely due to being aggressively chased by 7.30-1 Powder River, who vied for the lead through the turn. Cheetera has proven not to like company and Powder River’s jockey Adam Beschizza seemed to know it. The early leader faded and as Powder Room passed her on the inside, Audrey’s Time made her winning move on the outside and didn’t stop edging away to the wire.

“My horse got off a little slow,” Corey Lanerie said. “The leader was going easy by herself, but I kept my filly in the clear and she pulled up to her on the turn. From that point on I knew I had something left in the tank. I called on her and she took it from there.”

Make it $268,226 in the bank and a career record of 16-4-1-3 for Audrey’s Time as connections contemplate the next move.

“I don’t know if we belong with the ones we ran against last time [Envoutante and Bonny South in the Falls City (G2)],” Pessin said. “I don’t think we are quite there yet. We might look at Sam Houston. I don’t know what they’re going to have in the older filly division as far as veteran mares being ready to run.” — Kilroy

 

Additional Quotes:

“That was the easiest bunch she’d run against for awhile,” Pessin said. “We were just hoping she’d run the way she did. You never know when you ship and try a different track but she trained well her and had been doing very well so we kinda expected this kind of race out of her. The move from turf to dirt was intentional. We ran her again on the turf and didn’t do so good but that was a prep to get ready for Churchill.”

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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.