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Brisnet Handicappers Edge Fair Grounds notes.

Multiple stakes heroine MUCH OBLIGED (Kingmambo) highlights a field of 12 fillies and mares in Saturday's $60,000 Furl Sail H. at Fair Grounds. A half-length winner of the Blushing K. D. H. in her last outing, the Malcolm Pierce-trained mare has captured three of her last four starts, with the lone setback being a neck third in the Canadian S. (Can-G2), and figures to be a solid favorite in the about 1 1/16-mile race over the Stall-Wilson turf course. NEVER RETREAT (Smart Strike), CATEGORY SEVEN (Gulf Storm) and FINAL REFRAIN (Lion Cavern), the respective second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the Blushing K. D., will all take another shot against her, and horse-for-the-course DANCIN PERFECT (Pleasantly Perfect) will enter off a commendable second, beaten only a head, in the Pago Hop S...

 

On the Louisiana worktab

Four-time stakes hero SOK SOK (Trippi), fourth when defending his title in the Thanksgiving H., logged four furlongs in an easy :54 1/5 over the good track at Fair Grounds on Thursday.

DEVILISH DUE (Devil His Due), second in the restricted Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile last out, breezed in :51 3/5.

Louisiana Champions Day Lassie runner-up SHEZA SEXY A. P. (A. P. Delta) was timed in :50 1/5.

FAIR GROUNDS NOTEBOOK

DECEMBER 31, 2009

by Frank Cotolo

The Christmas holiday week reduced racing to three days, but the programs were filled with a lot of action, including 10 turf races and three days of fast-and-firm surfaces. No favorites won on Monday, but the public's choice still hit at a 30-percent clip, winning nine-for-30 races last week.

Surface Report

After watching late runners perform strongly the week before, speed carried much better over the main track last week at Fair Grounds, with 35 percent of the races being won in wire-to-wire fashion. Closers weren't at disadvantage, however; the dirt oval in New Orleans is generally one of the fairest tracks to all running styles.

On the turf, it was better to be coming off the pace at any distance, with 50 percent of the winners using the late path to victory. But there were still three wire-to-wire wins, two at route and one sprint.

Trainers

Tom Amoss checked three winners over the week, while Steve Asmussen, Merrill Scherer and Corlae Richards each logged a pair. Of note was a win by former jockey Ray Sibille, once a competitive West Coast rider now conditioning stock.

Though Asmussen leads by wins with 14 as Monday, his win percentage is well below the leading Bill Mott, who is hitting at a 40-percent clip. Cody Autry follows Mott at 36 percent. Steve Margolis, who at one point was eight-for-16, is now connecting at a 34-percent rate.

Stakes

On New Year's Eve, two features restricted to state-bred juveniles, each worth $50,000. The Louisiana Futurity for fillies and the Louisiana Futurity for colts and geldings are both six-furlong dashes on the main track.

HORSES TO WATCH

Saturday (12/26)

1ST -- DEMPSEY (Marciano) should have won this but for a late stretch duel that found his neck on the wrong side of the wire while driving.

4TH -- LADY MCBEE (Storm Passage) shot for the lead from the 11 post, retreated to last, then put in a come-back move that got her third money at 11-1.

7TH -- WINLOC'S SAINT RAY (Golden Missile) had good early speed, especially for a 25-1 shot.

Sunday (12/27)

5TH -- CRIMSON CRUSADERS (Ide) broke through the gate before the race and was slow to start, but quickly made up 10 spots to grab second and stayed on well for the place at 12-1.

6TH -- THIS SMOKE DID IT (Devil His Due) got into a tough duel on the grass early, then gained after putting his foe away and just got caught at the wire at 6-1.

Monday (12/28)

7TH -- OCTAVIA BLUE (Songandaprayer) is a Florida invader that flashed speed early and survived a stressful duel before finishing third at 6-1.

9TH -- POLITICAL ROCK (Political Whit) had sharp speed in the early going but was dueled to weariness in the route at 4-1.

FREE Ultimate Past Performances for Fair Grounds in January! Happy New Year handicappers!

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