By Ryan Martin

•              Needs Supervision Goes Easy Three-Eighths for Grade II Rachel Alexandra

•              Vivid Verse Stretches Out to Two Turns in Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri


Trainer Jerry O’Dwyer was not looking for much from Needs Supervision in her three-eighths of a mile work on Friday morning, but she still gave him enough in her first serious breeze since a triumph in the Silverbulletday Stakes.

Owned by Madaket Stables, Wachtel Stable Gary Barber and Howling Pigeon Farms, the 3-year-old daughter of Paynter completed her three furlong move in 36.80 following the renovation break over a fast Fair Grounds main track with O’Dwyer in the irons.

“She was her usual self,” O’Dwyer said. “She’s very willing and always wants to train. We’re always just trying to contain and not let her do too much. She galloped great and broke off easy and it was just a nice easy three eighths maintenance work to set her up for a nice half for next weekend and hopefully the (Grade II $200,000) Rachel Alexandra the following weekend.”

Needs Supervision has climbed up the ladder in her four career starts. After defeating three next out winners in her maiden victory at second asking, she romped to victory in a first level allowance event at Churchill Downs over graded stakes placed Meadow Dance and Lightscameraaction where she was 37-1. From there, she defeated a tougher field in the Silverbulletday Stakes.

“You want a horse that will progress,” O’Dwyer said. “I like to think that any young horse that I get, that’s the way I like to train them. You want to see the best out of them in their first or second start. I like for them to show me something in their first start and keep stepping up. She just kept pulling it out every time when she steps up in company.”

When taking the Silverbulletday Stakes, Needs Supervision earned 10 points on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Oaks. The Rachel Alexandra Stakes is worth a total of 50 points to the winner.

“(The Grade I $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks) is the aim,” O’Dwyer said. “I’m not getting the fever yet because it’s a long ways off, but we’re going to turn up to every dance along the way. The owners are excited, I’m excited, but it’s one race at a time and that’s the way we’re going to take it.”

Stabled in Barn 3 on the Fair Grounds backstretch, O’Dwyer now has five other horses stabled at the New Orleans oval.

“I’ve got four maidens and one allowance horse,” O’Dwyer said. “A couple of the maidens I would like to try on the grass, which is why they’re down here. One of my owners recently purchased two at OBS the other day and we have another four up at Laurel.”

Needs Supervision was purchased by O’Dwyer for $55,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where she was consigned by Hidden Brook Farm.


Highlander Training Center’s Vivid Verse has been stellar since trainer Joe Sharp moved him to the grass and now he will seek a stakes win covering more ground in Saturday’s $60,000 Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Memorial Overnight Stakes.

The 3-year-old son of last year’s leading first crop sire Cross Traffic broke his maiden at the beginning of the meet over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course at the 5½-furlong distance before defeating winners at the same distance over a yielding Fair Grounds turf course.

The Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Memorial Overnight Stakes is run at the distance of one mile.

“Looking forward to stretching him out,” Sharp said. “He’s been real tough since we’ve sprinted him on the grass but I think he’ll stretch out. I’m not sure how far but I think a flat mile he should handle. He keeps getting better and better. The ultimate question is how far can they handle but we’ll see.”

Jockey Adam Beschizza will be aboard Vivid Verse, who breaks from post three at 4-1 morning line odds.

Bred in Kentucky by Ralph Kinder, Erv Woolsey and Spendthrift Farm, Vivid Verse is the first foal out of the stakes winning Stormy Atlantic broodmare Madrilena.

The Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Overnight Stakes is named in honor of the late captain of the New Orleans Police Department who was a fixture and a familiar face at Fair Grounds for decades. A friend of many horsemen and racing officials, Maestri passed away last January at the age of 91.