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Grade II Winner Minit to Stardom Awarded Ladies Sprint Victory Via DQ of Midnight Fantasy
Jockey Florent Geroux and Trainer Allen Landry Enjoy a Banner Louisiana Champions Day
Off a win 20/1 upset win in the Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga this summer, Brittlyn Stable, Inc.’s Minit to Stardom was the headliner on the Louisiana Champions Day card at Fair Grounds. It didn’t come in the traditional way, nor did she pay nearly as much for her win on Saturday, but the 4-year-old daughter of Star Guitar did get her picture taken following the disqualification of Midnight Fantasy, who drifted out into the 4/5 favorite in the deep stretch.
“I feel really bad for the connections of the two-horse (Midnight Fantasy),” said Minit to Stardom’s owner Evelyn Benoit after the race. “She ran great and tried very hard. That’s horse racing. It’s very hard to win any race, and I appreciate every one of them.”
Florent Geroux scored a Louisiana Champions Day hat track, taking the Lassie with Vacherie Girl for Steve Asmussen, the Juvenile with Chimney Rock for Mike Maker and the Ladies on turf with 12-1 upsetter Net a Bear for Allen Landry, who enjoyed a fantastic day of his own, winning the Sprint one race later with Laughingsaintssong.
CHAMPIONS DAY RECAPS (track fast, turf firm – rail 22 feet out)
Race 5: $100,000 Lassie (6 furlongs, 2yo fillies)
Corrine and L William Heiligbrodt’s even-money favorite Vacherie Girl stalked the early pace, took over in the stretch, and drew away late by 1 1/4th lengths to take the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie over Our Lost Love and Sincerity in a final time of 1:12.01 for six furlongs. The Steve Asmussen trained 2-year-old daughter of Tapiture is now perfect from two starts with a bankroll of $87,000. It was jockey Florent Geroux’s first of three stakes wins on the day.
“It was a great trip, she broke good today,” Geroux said. “The speed was in front of me, with four horses across. I dropped in and stayed calm. When the horses in front of me got tired I tried to keep going and carry her and do what I could. She was the best horse. We had to fight a bit at the beginning of the stretch and then she drove away pretty nicely and she felt like she could’ve gone a little longer.”
Our Lost Love for Tri-Star Racing LLC and trainer Joseph Foster also earned her first stakes placing finishing second with jockey Mitchell Murrill.
“Horse ran well coming off of a little layoff,” Murrill said. “She got a little tired towards the end. At the start of the race she was well placed and comfortable where she was at, just couldn’t finish at the end.”
Race 7: $100,000 LADIES SPRINT (6 furlongs, fillies 3yo & up)
Following a dramatic stretch duel, the pacesetting Midnight Fantasy drifted out late into the 4/5 favorite Minit to Stardom. She crossed the finish line first, but following an inquiry was placed second for causing interference to her classy rival. Defending champ Ours to Run checked in third.
The final time was 1:09.49, the fastest of the day at the six furlong distance.
The winner of five of her last six starts including the Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga in July, the Brittlyn Stable, Inc. owned and Jose Camejo-trained daughter of Star Guitar increased her career bankroll to $476,180.
Jockey Alex Cintron guided the 4-year-old daughter of Star Guitar to victory,
“In the middle of the race he came over the first time and there was really no contact,” Cintron said of the late race bumping. “I think he was a little intimidated, but I just came back to the left-hand side away from him. My filly started getting a little harder to come back and then when he came over the second time, it was too much and I really had to steady and move out.
“She had a little surgery during the summer,” said Midnight Fantasy’s rider Beschizza. “She’s definitely much more comfortable now. Just goes to show that we (along with trainer Joe Sharp) have a decent filly to play with again this year. It was sort of a jockey error. She was the best horse at the 1/16 pole, but these things happen, and she will bounce back.”
Race 8: $100,000 Juvenile (6 furlongs, 2yo’s)
Three Diamonds Farm’s Chimney Rock, recently only a ½ length short of victory when finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint (G2) at Santa Anita, stalked the early pace, took over at the top of the stretch and won going away by 6 ½ lengths for trainer Mike Maker. It was jockey Florent Geroux’s second of three stakes wins on the day. The winner stopped the timer in 1:11.46 for six furlongs and increased his career bankroll to $369,025. Binding Agreement was second, Outofmybind checked in third.
“The dirt was no question for the horse,” Geroux said after the race. “It was his first time on the (fast) dirt, but it he handled everything. He is a very talented horse. Two horses went out and like in every single race you want to put your horse in the best position for him. I was able to keep a nice cozy spot, and I took it.”
“My horse broke good and then the dirt kind of hit him and brought him back a little,” said Colby Hernandez, the rider of runner-up Binding Agreement. “I took him to the outside and he had a good run after that.”
Race 9: $100,000 Turf (1 1/16 miles turf, 3yo’s & up)
Thomas Morley (also trainer) and Paul Braverman’s Ninety One Assault closed with a rush and outkicked fellow late runner Remembermis to take the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf over 1 1/16th miles of firm ground (1:47.06). Budro Talking was third.
The 6-year-old son of Artie Schiller earned his first stakes win and improved his record over the New Orleans oval to 7-4-1-2. His career bankroll is $280,483.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who guided the 6-year-old to victory, was pleased with the performance.
“I thought he had a good trip,” said Bridgmohan. “He’s not an easy horse to ride and he basically has a 3/16 to a mile run. He broke with me and I stayed with him the whole time. I had to be patient and just use his finish when I know it counted. I begged (trainer Tom) Morley to ride this horse cause I knew he was tough to ride and I knew I’d be able to get him to run for me. He had a good effort today.”
“He ran awesome,” said Corey Lanerie, who rode the 12/1 runner-up Remembermis. “He ran his race. He lays back and makes one run. Had a quick trip, had to go wide, but in this turf course it seems to be the way it plays, so I had no excuse.”
Race 10: 150,000 Classic (1 1/8 miles, 3yo & up)
In a minor upset, 8/1-shot Pound for Pound ran down longtime leader Trevilion late in the stretch to win the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic for owner Israel Flores Horses LLC, stopping the timer in 1:52.98 for 1 1/8th miles. Even-money race favorite and defending champ Underpressure finished third.
Pound for Pound, last seen winning an allowance race at Delta Downs, stalked the early leader and grinded his way to the lead in the final 1/16th of a mile.
Jockey Aubrie Green, who rode the 4-year-old last time out at Delta Downs, was back aboard today for the Classic for trainer Andrea Ali.
“This horse has a ton of heart,” Green said. “I rode him here last year and had a couple of second place finishes on him. He had a little time off then he came back and won an allowance race almost two weeks ago over at Delta Downs and I knew that was going to have him tight and ready for this race. I wanted to be forward placed, but I didn’t want the lead today. He seems to have a little more heart when he has something to chase. He’s feeling better than he’s ever been since I’ve been riding him.”
Pound for Pound now boasts a career record of 18-5-5-1 with career earnings exceeding $303,818.
Race 11: $100,000 Ladies Turf (1 1/16 miles turf, 3yo’s & up, fillies & mares)
Far off the pace early, Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro’s Net a Bear stormed home late to upset the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies at odds of 12-1. The Allen Landry trained Net A Bear sat at the back of the pack early, started to move up around the second turn, and powered home down the stretch late, stopping the clock in 1:47.96 for the 1 1/16th journey on turf while drawing away by 1 1/4th lengths over Room To Finish. Eskenformore was third.
Net a Bear is now perfect from two starts on turf and her career bankroll stands $151,960. It was jockey Florent Geroux’s third stakes win of the day.
“I just wanted to let her settle and try to make a late run,” said winning rider Florent Geroux. “She exploded down the lane when I asked her to go. I knew turning for home that we were going to have a shot. She gave me a nice kick at the 1/8th pole and I knew that we were going to have enough to get there late.”
“Winning three races on a day like today is great. I am very thankful for all of the trainers giving me the opportunity, it makes it a lot easier when you’re riding for these good trainers.”
“She tries hard all the time,” jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said of the runner-up and even-money favorite Room to Finish. “Florent got the jump on me, he had to circle the field and I thought it was a bit too much for her to circle on the outside of him. So, I waited for him to turn again on the outside and get some run, but he never quit trying. He just got the first jump on her and beat us.”
Race 12: $100,000 Sprint (6 furlongs, 3yo &up)
Trainer Allen Landry scored his second stakes win of the day when Rodney Verret’s Laughingsaintssong (5/1) took the Champions Day Sprint with Colby Hernandez aboard.
The 5-year-old son of Songandaprayer broke well from the gate and sat just outside pacesetting 69/1 longshot and eventual second place finisher Takes Two to Tango before taking over mid-stretch and winning by a length in a final time of 1:10.19 for six furlongs. Double Barrel Man was third.
“He’s just a nice hard knocking horse,” Allen Landry said of Laughingsaintsong, who won his third straight start while increasing his career bankroll to $299,910. “He’s never given us issues and we’re very excited about this win.”
“He’s really fast early,” jockey Colby Hernandez added. “I warmed him up good and we broke good and finished strong. I just want to thank the whole team for the opportunity and I’m glad we got the job done today.”
Race 1: $100,000 Quarter Horse Juvenile (G2) (350 yards, 2yo’s
Runaway Second Down, winner of the RG1 Lee Berwick Futurity last July, got his second stakes victory on Saturday when he defeated Ms Diamond Prize by a nose in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day QH Juvenile (RG2) at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Ridden by jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr., Runaway Second Down completed the 350 yards in :17.731 seconds, equaling an 89 speed index into a 4 mph crosswind. It was the fourth win eight starts for the son of multiple stakes sire Sir Runaway Dash. “He broke well; we fought all the way with the 12, then I looked over and saw the 1,” jockey Ramirez, Jr. said following the win. “He’s a pretty smart horse and always finishes well.”
The $45,000 winners’ purse boosted Runaway Second Down’s bankroll to $413,526 for the season.
Race 2: $100,000 Quarter Horse Derby (G3) (400 yards, 3yo’s)
Making his first appearance ever in a stakes race, Tuckers Prize got his fourth consecutive win Saturday by defeating Igottarampage by a nose in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day QH Derby(RG3) at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Under jockey Damian Martinez, Tuckers Prize completed the 400-yard course in a quick: 20.149 clocking, equaling a speed index of 96. He entered the race off three consecutive wins in Starter Optional Claiming races at Evangeline Downs.
“He faced tough horses today, but came running at the end,” Martinez said. “I told Preston that you can’t ride him the same way every race.”
The winner of eight of 15 career starts races for owner-trainer Preston Jourdan and was bred by Kirby and Phillip Bruchhaus. A son of multiple stakes sire Fast Prize Dash from the Game Patriot mare Bb Secrets Game, Tuckers Prize earned $45,000 to bring his bankroll to $127,580.
Race 3: $100,000 Quarter Horse Classic (G2) (440 yards, 4yo & up)
At 19-1 odds, Lightemupwithcharm put in a game effort under jockey Luis Vivanco to get his head in front of post-time favorite Dlj Imma B Famous in the $100,000 restricted Grade 2 Louisiana Champions Day QH Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course Saturday.
The multiple graded stakes winning son of Sizzlin Cartel completed the 440 yards in: 21.761 seconds, equaling a 97-speed index into a 4 mph crosswind. The $45,000 winners’ purse boosted his career mark to nearly $280,000.
Miguel Rodriguez trains the 5-year-old gelding for owner Saul Dorado. Jumonville Farms bred Lightemupwithcharm from the Feature Mr Jess mare Grace Filled Charm. The gelding has compiled a (25) 7-3-4 record with wins that include the Vals Fortune Stakes (RG2), and Louisiana Classic (RG2).
“He was the runner up in this race last year,” trainer Rodriguez said following the win. “In his last start (at Evangeline Downs), he was 60% ready, but needed the race. Today he broke perfectly and ran a great race.”
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
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