FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Racing Media Relations Coordinator
Belmont Stakes Winner Sir Winston Set to Take On
Full Field in Saturday’s Woodchopper at Fair Grounds
Full gate on program for two-turn turf test for 3yo’s; two other stakes on the Saturday docket
Tracey Farmer’s homebred Sir Winston, who won the Belmont Stakes (G1) over 1 ½ miles of dirt in June, is set to make his first start since in Saturday’s $75,000 Woodchopper at Fair Grounds. The about one mile turf race run over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course is restricted to 3-year-olds.
After running a game second in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in early May, Sir Winston entered the final jewel of racing’s Triple Crown as a fresh horse. The beneficiary of a brilliant ride from Joel Rosario, Sir Winston saved ground and got the jump on the favored Tacitus, who was forced to race wide. He held off that foe by a length in the 1 ½ mile marathon.
After that signature victory, the Mark Casse trainee was sent to the sidelines, spending time at the Casse Training Center in Ocala, Florida. Starting on October 23, he posted six published works there prior to arriving at Fair Grounds, where he’s breezed three times leading up to Saturday’s return run.
In a ten-race career, the 3-year-old son of Awesome Again has only one other time on grass, but he does have two wins over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta surface.
“It (the Woodchopper) is (restricted to) 3-year-olds and we need to get him started somewhere,” assistant trainer on the grounds David Carroll explained earlier this month. “That’s the most logical spot to get him back. He’s not the easiest work horse in the morning, so sometimes he needs some racing to get back into form.”
Tabbed at Mike Diliberto’s 7/2 morning line favorite, Sir Winston drew post 11 and Miguel Mena has been named to ride.
Also entered in the Woodchopper is Hog Creek Hustle, the 18/1 upset winner of the seven-furlong Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont, but according to the Foley family (trainer Vickie Foley), he will be scratched and pointed elsewhere.
Of the 13 horses in the body of the Woodchopper (there are three also eligibles), two are graded stakes winners on turf – Calumet Farm’s Flying Scotsman (trained by Jack Sisterson at 12/1) won the Cecil B. Deville (G3) at Del Mar on November 25, 2018 and August Dawn Farm’s Forty Under (trained by Jeremiah Englehardt at 20/1) won the Pilgrim (G3) at Belmont on September, 29, 2018.
A horse for the course is Rick Awtry, Donna Awtry and Jeff Awtry’s Marquee Prince (8/1), who won both the Lloyd Captain Maestri Memorial on the turf and the Black Gold (off the turf) at Fair Grounds early in his 3-year-old season.
The Woodchopper field (jockey/trainer) with morning line odds
- Flying Scotsman (B. Hernandez, Jr./Sisterson) at 12/1
- Irish Heatwave (Santana, Jr./Sisterson) at 20/1
- Forty Under (Bridgmohan/Englehart) at 20/1
- Marquee Prince (Geroux/Cox) at 8/1
- Rijeka (IRE) (C. Hernandez/Cox) at 15/1
- Empire of War (G. Saez/Maker) at 20/1
- The Last Zip (Murrill/Stidham) at 6/1
- Louder Than Bombs (Gilligan/Fawkes) at 12/1
- Clint Maroon (GB) (Pedroza/Catalano) at 15/1
- Spectacular Gem (Graham/Baker) at 8/1
- Sir Winston (Mena/Casse) at 7/2
- Hog Creek Hustle (Lanerie/Foley) 9/2 (will scratch)
- Tracksmith (Beschizza/Sharp) at 6/1
- Tiz Plus (AE) (Elliott/Asmussen) at 15/1
- Uncapped (AE) (Pedroza/Walsh) at 20/1
- Vivid Verse (Beschizza/Sharp) at 20/1
($75,000 PAN ZARETA STAKES ABOUT FIVE AND ONE HALF FURLONGS TURF, F&M 3YO&UP)
Fresh off her second-level allowance win here on December 15, Roddy Harrison’s Change of Control has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s lukewarm 4/1 morning line favorite against ten female rivals for Saturday’s $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes, scheduled to be run at about 5 ½ furlongs on turf.
Trained by Michelle Lovell, Change of Control has won three times this year, with a 35/1 upset of the Mamzelle Stakes at Churchill also on her resume. The 3-year-old daughter of Fed Biz stormed home from off the pace to take a turf sprint less than two weeks ago as the 2/1 second choice. Gabriel Saez has the return call.
“She had a superficial yet somewhat substantial injury, an open wound on a back leg, after the Keeneland race,” trainer Michelle Lovell said. “I thought she was ready to run (in her recent win), but not like that. I wasn’t sure if she was quite fit enough. She can be hard to read. She came out of it great. She’s trained lightly since but has been full of herself.”
Programmed as the co-second choices at 9/2 are Connie and Richard Snyder’s Quebec (trained by Joe Sharp) and Klein Racing’s Play On (conditioned by Brad Cox).
Previously based in Southern California with Richard Baltas, Quebec will be making her first start for Sharp in what will be her Fair Grounds debut. A six-time winner with over $280,000 in the bank, the vast majority of the 5-year-old mare’s recent starts have come around two turns. Adam Beschizza is slated to ride.
Play On made an excellent impression at Fair Grounds last meet, breaking her maiden and winning a first-level allowance in consecutive sprints, one on turf the other on dirt. A victory in the Melody of Colors Stakes on the Gulfstream grass would follow. She recently returned from a 6 1/2 month layoff to set the pace and finish second in the Richie Scherer Memorial her on November 30. Shaun Bridgmohan, who has been aboard in all seven of her previous starts, has the call.
The Pan Zareta field (jockey/trainer) with morning line odds
- Fame Feather (Doyle/Faucheux) at 8/1
- Ambassador Luna (Pedroza/Gulick) at 12/1
- Miss Bigly (B. Hernandez, Jr./Desormeaux) at 20/1
- Ruby Trust (C. Hernandez/Ortiz) at 12/1
- A Little Bit Me (Lanerie/Walsh) at 8/1
- May Lilly (Murrill/Foley) at 8/1
- Quebec (Beschizza/Sharp) at 9/2
- Violent Times (Graham/Nicks) at 6/1
- Change of Control (Saez/Lovell) at 4/1
- Play On (Bridgmohan/Cox) at 9/2
- On Probation (Kennedy/Pessin) at 20/1
($75,000 PAGO HOP STAKES, ABOUT ONE MILE TURF, 3YO FILLIES)
Off a narrow miss in the Mrs. Revere (G2) at Churchill on November 29, Bel Mar Equine’s Dalika (Ger) has been designated 3/1 morning line favoritism in the overflow field of 15 (two are also eligible) for Saturday’s $75,000 Pago Hop for 3-year-old fillies to be run at about one mile on Fair Grounds turf.
Imported from Europe following her 2-year-old season and trained by Al Stall Jr., the 3-year-old German-bred daughter of Pastorius has just a first-level allowance win from six starts this season, but she’s been competitive against tough company. Miguel Mena, who as aboard for her lone stateside win, has the call from post five.
“She ran a nice race at Saratoga, just got nipped at the wire by a Chad Brown horse,” Stall said Thursday afternoon. “Just got beat in the last jump in the Mrs.Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs last out. She’s trained great out of that and we’re looking to see if we can get a black type win out of her. We have black type placed but really want a win with her. It’s not an easy race either so it’ll be tough but we expect her to run well.”
Heider Family Stables LLC’s Zofelle (IRE) is the morning line’s second choice at 4/1. Imported from Europe this summer, she has won both of her starts on this side of the pond for trainer Brendan Walsh, taking allowance races at Keeneland and most recently at Fair Grounds over fellow Pago Hop rival Elsa. Florent Geroux has the return call from post 11.
The Pago Hop field (jockey/trainer) with morning line odds
- Oxy Lady (Bridgmohan/Sisterson) at 15/1
- Elle’s Town (Lanerie/Maker) at 20/1
- Boxwood (Graham/Lanerie) at 8/1
- Winning Envelope (Santana, Jr./Block) at 6/1
- Dalika (Ger) (Mena/Stall, Jr.) at 3/1
- Summer in Saratoga (Beschizza/Sharp) at 12/1
- Tempers Way (Pedroza/Stewart) at 20/1
- Red Rounder (G. Saez/Maker) at 12/1
- Russian Mafia (Sanjur/Rodriguez) at 30/1
- Isla Road (Albarado/Nicks) at 12/1
- Zofelle (Ire) (Geroux/Walsh) at 4/1
- Elsa (B. Hernandez, Jr./Stidham) at 6/1
- She’sonthewarpath (Sutherland/Margolis) at 15/1
- Classic Fit (AE) (C. Hernandez/Stidham) at 8/1
- Brunette Princess (AE) (Doyle/Bauer) at 12/1
First post for Saturday’s ten-race card at Fair Grounds will be 12:30 p.m. CT. Post time for the three stakes is as follow – Pan Zareta (Race 5 at 2:26 p.m. CT), Pago Hop (Race 7 at 3:24 p.m. CT) and Woodchopper (Race 9 at 4:22 p.m. CT).
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 is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global
Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 148th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 107 th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 28, 2019 through March 29, 2020. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
Information set forth in this press release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act. The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming and sports wagering in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; the number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using personal information; payment- related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; compliance with payment processing and payment transmission regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; the cost and possibility for delay, cost overruns and other uncertainties associated with the develop.m.ent and expansion of casinos; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; and failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming.