Barn Notes: Thursday, December 27

  • Grade I Pegasus World Cup a Possibility for Tom’s d’Etat
  • Colonel E. R. Bradley Next for Great Wide Open (Ire.)
  • Classy John Heads Colts and Geldings Division of Louisiana Futurity

By Ryan Martin


While lightly raced for a well-bred 5-year-old horse, Tom’s d’Etat has continued to impress trainer Al Stall, Jr. and after a 3½-length triumph in Saturday’s Tenacious Stakes, the conditioner has brought up consideration of trying the son of Candy Ride (Arg.) in the Grade I $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on January 26.

“It could be anything from the Pegasus on down,” Stall said of where Tom’s d’Etat’s next move might take place. “So we’ll keep our eye on him and see what’s going on with him. It’s an older horse race going a mile and an eighth on the main track, so you never know.”

The Tenacious Stakes was a fourth consecutive victory for Tom’s d’Etat. A winner of a Churchill Downs main track allowance event in November off of a 16-month layoff, he won two prior starts against allowance company as well.

Owned by G M B Racing, Tom’s d’Etat is out of the Giant’s Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose grand dam Candy Cane (Arg.) is a full sister to multiple champion producing sire Candy Ride (Arg.). He was a $330,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2014, where he was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm. The Tenacious Stakes was his  sixth victory in nine career starts.

“He went to the track the last two days,” Stall said. “He jogged yesterday and galloped this morning. He looks great. It looks like he’s put on a little weight since the race, actually. He has a little more muscle tone. He certainly needed the race.”

The excitement did not end there, however. G M B Racing’s owner Gayle Benson also is the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints who clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon, G M B Racing found the Fair Grounds winner’s circle twice more with Stuart Hall and Tom Management, the latter of which was trained by Stall.

“Being a New Orleanian and they’re a New Orleans operation, it’s just kind of fun to stick with your people,” Stall said. “Every once in a while you have good little streak. You might as well enjoy it while it happens because it doesn’t happen all the time. I was glad to be a small part of it.”

Tom Management made his career debut when scoring a victory on Wednesday afternoon, which took place over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course going a mile-and-an-eighth. A 2-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, he is the first foal out of the Empire Maker broodmare Comme Chez Soi. He was purchased for $100,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale from Summerfield’s consignment operation.

“That was a pedigree play, we knew the further the better,” Stall said. “He was training forwardly and the condition book came out and I would have ran him if it were a mile, but (Fair Grounds Racing Secretary) Scott (Jones) happened to write it as a mile and an eighth. We just went in there and it might have worked out for the better because we just got to gallop on the lead with his ears pricked forward. (Jockey) Declan (Carroll) gets a lot of run out of horses, I’ve noticed that about him so far. Maybe the weight allowance helped us in the end also.”


After adding “stakes winner” to his resume with a victory in Saturday’s Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes, Great Wide Open (Ire.) will go for back-to-back stakes wins in next month’s $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes on January 19.

Trained by Conor Murphy, the 6-year-old son of Starspangledbanner (Aus.) was sent straight to the lead under current Fair Grounds leading rider James Graham, never looked back and took the Buddy Diliberto Memorial in wire-to-wire fashion by 4½ lengths.

“We were delighted with the win,” Murphy said. “He put up a good performance and seemed to come out of it very well. Everything went well. I’d imagine we’d come back for the Colonel E.R. Bradley.”

Great Wide Open made his 12th start in 2018 when taking Saturday’s stakes event for owners M and J Thoroughbreds and Riverside Bloodstock. It was also was his third victory over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. A winner of an allowance optional claiming event at the beginning of the meet, he also scored over the Fair Grounds lawn back in March of this year.

“He did run 12 times this year, he did get a break and when he disappointed in Canterbury back in June, we gave him a break for forty days. I think since he’s come back from that break he’s been a different horse. He’s always been a good horse but his performance Saturday surprised me even.”

Since his lack luster eighth-place finish in Canterbury Park’s Mystic Lake Mile, Great Wide Open has never finished worse than second in his past four starts, which include runner-up efforts in the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs and the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland back in October.


Valene Farms’ Classy John will seek a second stakes victory against Louisiana-breds in the colts and geldings division of the $85,700 Louisiana Futurity.

Named in honor of owner Murray Valene’s late father, the Dallas Stewart trainee will break from post five as the heavy 3-5 favorite. In his most recent effort, he was a 4½ length winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes last time out over a sloppy main track. Classy John won his career debut by six lengths against open company at Saratoga back in August.

“It looks like he bounced out of Champions day well,” Stewart said. “He had a good work had a lot of good days leading up to Saturday so we’re looking forward to it. We’ve just taken things one day at a time and are hoping for another big effort out of him.”

The 2-year-old son of Songandaprayer was purchased for $12,000 from this year’s Equine Sales of Louisiana 2-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale, where he was consigned by Clear Creek Stud. He is the first foal out of the Old Forester broodmare Kitty’s Got Class who was a two-time stakes winner.

Classy John will be piloted by jockey Corey Lanerie.

Completing the field for the colts and geldings division of the Louisiana Futurity are Shae’s Day (post one, 15-1, Gabriel Saez), Jimi’s a Star (post two, 6-1, Emanuel Nieves), Café Du Monde (post three, 2-1, Florent Geroux) and Why Not Charlie (post four, 15-1, Chantal Sutherland). 

The Louisiana Futurity is carded as the first race on Saturday afternoon’s card. Three races later, the fillies race in their division of the Louisiana Futurity, which is headed by Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes winner Midnight Fantasy. 

Owned by Carl R. Moore Management and trained by Joe Sharp, the 2-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute has won both of her career starts by a combined 12 ¾ lengths, both of which took place over the Fair Grounds main track under jockey Adam Beschizza. She was purchased for $77,000 from this year’s Equine Sales of Louisiana 2-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale where she was consigned by Pike Racing.

Midnight Fantasy will break from the four hole as the 3-5 morning line favorite.

Its Misty In Paris (post one, 12-1, Mitchell Murrill), Raising the Ante (post two, 20-1, Gabriel Saez), Miss Bitters (post three, 6-1, Colby Hernandez), Scat At Ms. Pat’s (post five, 8-1, Miguel Mena), Goodprofit (post seven, 7-2, Corey Lanerie) and Cohenscollegefund (post seven, 15-1, James Graham).