By Ryan Martin

Barn Notes:  Thursday, March 14, 2019  

•              Eurton Hopes to Make His First Trip to New Orleans Worthwhile

•              All Systems Go for Serengeti Empress in Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks

•              Tom’s d’Etat Will Miss Grade II New Orleans Handicap

•              Pessin Believes Greater Days Lie Ahead for Undefeated Bell’s the One


Trainer Peter Eurton will be making his first visit to the city of New Orleans next weekend, but he’ll be looking to feast on more than just gumbo and crawfish when he does. The Southern California-based conditioner will send a trio of contenders to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for three of the eight stakes races carded for Louisiana Derby Day.

In breaking his Big Easy maiden, Eurton will saddle Core Beliefs in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap, Slewgoodtobetrue in the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks and Lady Mamba in the $75,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Owned by Gary Broad, Core Beliefs will enter the New Orleans Handicap off of a six-month layoff and has not started since a distant fifth-place finish in the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby on September 22 behind McKinzie. The 4-year-old son of Quality Road will seek his second graded stakes triumph in the New Orleans ‘Cap. He won last year’s Grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown by a nose to Lone Sailor who also is possible for the New Orleans Handicap.

Last Sunday, he worked seven furlongs in 1:26.00 over the main track at Los Alamitos Race Course.

“He’s coming off of a pretty good layoff,” Eurton said. “We just felt like if we were going to have a strong 4-year-old this year, then he needed a break. He’s doing well and he’s been training well. He had a nice seven-eighths breeze last week at Los Alamitos and we’ll go from there. The great thing about him is that he just never stops trying. In the Ohio Derby at the top of the stretch, he looks beat but he keeps grinding and grinding it out. He doesn’t let things get to him, he doesn’t waste any energy and he has speed. He could run a good mile and a quarter. There are a lot of good things about him.”

Bred in Kentucky by Thomas Young, Core Beliefs was purchased for $350,000 from the Barretts March Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale where he was consigned by Wavertree Stables. He is out of the Tactical Advantage broodmare Tejati.

Eurton will also be seeking his first starter in the Grade I $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks when he sends out Slewgoodtobetrue in the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks – the final local qualifier on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Oaks. The dark bay daughter of Jimmy Creed will make her stakes debut in the Fair Grounds Oaks after two victories over the main track at Santa Anita. A third out winner by four lengths over a fast main track on January 10, she defeated winners over a sloppy going on February 3 including next out winner Proud Emma.

Slewgoodtobetrue was purchased from the Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic Winter Mixed Sale in January 2017 for only $1,200 by pinhooker Larry Smith who sold the filly for $110,000 at the following year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales June Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where she was acquired by Larry Zap on behalf of Joseph Ciaglia, Jr.

Slewgoodtobetrue is a bit of a rarity as she was bred in the state of South Carolina. She will look to become the first graded stakes winner bred in the Palmetto State, according to Equibase.

“That was a great pick up at the Timonium sale,” Eurton said. “Larry Zap picked her out in Ocala. We love her to death. She won her two starts going two turns and beat some nice fillies that came back and won. She has a great mind, she holds good flesh and does what she needs to do in the morning. Without competition, she’s just walking in the park. We’re hoping she’s good. If she runs well here, then Oaks here we come. I like six weeks between then and the Kentucky Oaks with her. I’m just trying to get some black type on her, have some fun with her.”

Given the fact that she is proven to win regardless of the track conditions, Eurton is not concerned weather wise.

“She’s run on some really heavy racetracks and trained over tight track at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos,” Eurton said. “She’ll pretty much handle anything. Right now she doesn’t do anything wrong and she excels on just about everything.”

Slewgoodtobetrue is owned by Ciaglia Racing in partnership with Sharon Alesia, Burns Racing and ERJ Racing.

Perhaps the most well-bred horse of the three that Eurton will send to Fair Grounds is Lady Mamba who makes her stakes debut in the $75,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. The C R K Stable-owned daughter of War Front is out of the Unbridled’s Song broodmare Siren Serenade who is a half to Grade I winner George Vancouver and Grade II winner Saarland. All three are out of four-time Grade I winner Versailles Treaty.

It took Lady Mamba awhile to finally get things together. Two starts ago, she broke her maiden in her seventh career start which also was her first race in eight months as well as her 5-year-old debut.

“Lady Mamba had some physical issues, but it was nothing serious,” Eurton said. “It was just some growing up things so it was nothing ever bad. This is the soundest I’ve ever had her. Ran a sprint for me in her comeback race and she won that easily. She was pulling the whole way. We worked her a nice three quarters (in 1:12.40) at Los Alamitos (on Sunday morning). We’re hoping to see some good things from her.”

Eurton’s triumvirate of Fair Grounds stakes hopefuls are scheduled to ship in on Wednesday, March 20.

“It’s going to be fun in more ways than one since I’ve never been to New Orleans,” Eurton said.


All the heavy lifting and preparation for the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks is over for Serengeti Empress following a half-mile work in :49.40 on Wednesday morning over the New Orleans oval.

Trained by Tom Amoss, the daughter of Alternation was a 4¼-length winner of the Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes in her most recent effort, which also was her sophomore debut. As a 2-year-old, Serengeti Empress was a dual stakes winner when taking the Ellis Park Debutante and Churchill Downs’ Grade II Pocahontas Stakes by a combined 33 lengths. Both races were won in wire-to-wire fashion.

Also working for Amoss on Wednesday morning was G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor who went a half-mile in :50.20. The 4-year-old son of Majestic Warrior’s only start this year was a sixth-place finish as the lukewarm favorite of the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap. Amoss stated that he is possible for the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap but whether or not he runs depends on how much speed draws into the race.

“Both Serengeti Empress and Lone Sailor had works that were designed to be easy half-mile works,” Amoss said. “They are both fit and ready to go next week. Everything went well and they look good this morning. That will probably be their last piece of big work before they run on Louisiana Derby Day. With Lone Sailor we are still trying to examine how much speed is going to be in his race before entering him.”

Lone Sailor won the Grade III Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park last September, which was his only graded stakes win to date. Bred in Kentucky by Alexander-Groves-Matz, Lone Sailor was purchased for $120,000 from Gainesway’s consignment operation at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016. He is out of the Mr. Greeley broodmare Ambitious, whose dam Aldiza was a Grade I winner. 

Serengeti Empress was bred in Kentucky by Tri Eques Bloodstock and is out of the unraced Bernardini broodmare Havisham. She was a $70,000 purchase from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017 where she was consigned by Brookdale Sales.


Trainer Al Stall, Jr. reported that G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat would not contest the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as originally planned due to a foot abscess. Instead, the 6-year-old son of Smart Strike will now target the Grade III $200,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on April 13.

Tom’s d’Etat has not raced since a distant ninth in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 26. Prior to that performance, he had won four straight races, including a local stakes victory in the Tenacious Stakes on December 22.

Bred in Kentucky by SF Racing, Tom’s d’Etat is out of the graded stakes placed Giant’s Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane (Arg.) is a full sister to Grade I winner and multiple champion producing stallion Candy Ride (Arg.). He was purchased for $330,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2014 from the consignment barn of Hunter Valley Farm.


Trainer Neil Pessin believes that the best is yet to come with undefeated Bell’s the One, who won last Saturday’s Allen ‘Black Cat’ Lacombe Stakes over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course in her grass debut.

In four career starts, the 3-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection has collected wins on dirt, turf and synthetic. A 32-1 upset maiden winner over the Polytrack at Arlington International Racecourse, she defeated winners over the main track at Keeneland last fall before winning the Letellier Memorial Stakes over the local dirt surface.

Pessin stated that her next start would more than likely take place on dirt and named the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 23, the Grade I $500,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 6 and the Grade III $150,000 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on April 7 as options for her next outing.

“We just have to decide where to go next,” Pessin said. “She would have to be doing really well for us to (run in the Fair Grounds Oaks) but it’s a possibility since we know she likes it here. We’ll see how it comes up and how she’s doing. She does what she has to do, we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of her yet and you haven’t seen her best race yet. Wherever we go in next will be graded. It’s special to have horses like this that make you look good. Good horses make you look good and bad horses make you look bad.”

Bred in Kentucky by Bret Jones, Bell’s the One is out of the Street Cry (Ire.) broodmare Street Mate and was a $155,000 purchase from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale from the consignment barn of Brereton Jones.