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Contact: Joe Kristufek/Grant LaGrange
Racing Analyst/Media Relations
Alicia Hughes provided copy – [email protected]
Monte Man Scores 14th Career Victory in Costa Rising
Sydster wires Crescent City Derby;
Vacherie Girl returns to form in Crescent City Oaks
(New Orleans – March 21, 2020) — Ivery Sisters Racing’s Monte Man, the beaten favorite by a neck in the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes one year ago, reclaimed his title in the race he first captured in 2018 when he edged past stubborn pacesetter Letithappencarlos in midstretch to once again prove best in the 5 ½-furlong turf test for Louisiana breds.
The 7-year-old Monte Man has been a thoroughly honest performer, finishing worse than third just twice in 14 subsequent starts since his initial triumph in the Costa Rising Stakes two years ago. The gelded son of Custom of Carlos was recognized for his consistency by the betting public, who made him the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12, and he rewarded that faith with a stalk-and-pounce run over a firm Fair Grounds course Saturday to win by a length and earn his 14th victory from 39 career starts.
When Letithappencarlos was sent to the front in the Costa Rising, Monte Man was kept close to pace by jockey Adam Beschizza who rated his mount to the outside in second through an opening quarter-mile in :21.76. Monte Man began advancing around the far and took dead aim in the stretch at Letithappencarlos, who was still game on the front end after posting a half-mile in :45.59.
Under right-handed urging, Monte Man took over just past the sixteenth and held off Grand Luwegee running on late to hit the wire in 1:03.49.
Yankee Seven got up for third with Letithappencarlos settling for fourth.
Trained by Ron Faucheux, Monte Man was bred by Val C. Murrell out of the Sutter’s Prospect mare Sarah’s My Angel and improved his career bankroll to $582,441.
Winning trainer Ron Faucheux – “He’s really a head bob away from winning this race three consecutive years. He loves this turf course. We have been trying to get him in all meet. With low rain he came off one time. He’s just an old soldier. He just does his job and knows what he’s doing. He was doing so good going into this race. We are so proud of him; he means so much to everyone at the barn. It’s a good way to cap off the meet.”
Winning jockey Adam Beschizza – “It’s a very forward trip. We came out thriving. We had a nice box seat position and it was just the way he likes it. We were on a fresh strip of turf. He seems to like this type of race this time of year. He was just behind last year, and the year before that he won. You can never rule out sprinting him on the turf, but he’s a good horse.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey of 2nd-place finish Grand Luwegee – “I had a decent trip. We broke and got bumped a little bit, but then he was back there. I got to save most of our ground turning the turn. Turning for home, I tried to go inside at one point and then had the other horse jump heels and I feel like that might have cost me the race because he is such a big horse. He ran great.”
Sydster Wires Crescent City Derby
Baronne Farms’ Sydster made the most of every inch he was given in his stakes debut as the son of Power Broker had things all his own his way en route to the victory in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for Louisiana breds.
The Crescent City Derby was the first of eight stakes on Fair Grounds’ signature $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) lineup. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the track has been holding races without spectators and allowing only essential personnel on the grounds.
Sent off as 3-2 second choice in the field of eight, Sydster caused some drama before he ever got running when he became fractious in the gate, causing jockey Florent Geroux to temporarily dismount. Once settled and sprung free from post 1, the chestnut gelding was nothing short of professional as he shot to the front and loped along through fractions of :25.05 and :49.36 with 60-1 longshot Luckenbacher tracking him in second.
As Geroux set Sydster down for the stretch run, 4-5 race favorite Langs Day tipped out from his spot along the inside and tried to threaten. Those soft early fractions left Sydster with plenty in reserve, however, to hold off a late surge from Jax Man to the outside and prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in his fifth career start.
Jax Man was 1 ¼-lengths in front of third-place finisher Luckenbacher. City Park was fourth with Langs Day fading to fifth to suffer his first career loss. The final time for the 1 1/16-miles was 1:45.59 over a track rated fast.
Trained by Edward Johnston, Sydster came into the Crescent City Derby off a second-place run in an allowance race at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17. All five of his starts have come over the New Orleans oval and he improved his record to three wins and one runner-up finish with $104,800 in earnings.
Sydster was bred by J. Adcock and Montgomery Equine Center out of the Salt Lake mare Tensas Salt.
Winning trainer Eddie Johnston – “I thought (Geroux) rated him perfectly. He wasn’t getting any pressure and he had horse left and I was happy. It’s very weird. We went through Katrina, and now we go through this. We’ve had our catastrophes so we will survive. We are very thankful for today.”
Winning jockey Florent Geroux – “There was good speed in there. I tried to break quick to get to the rail and have a good spot. I slowed it down and knew when I had to pull the trigger.”
“It’s funny because it’s the biggest day of the meet here and it’s completely empty. It’s like playing football in the Super Bowl with an empty stadium.”
Ty Kennedy, jockey Langs Day – “Nothing really went wrong. The two times he ran at Delta he hopped at the start once and then he broke slow. Today he broke out pretty sharp and was a little bit aggressive when he normally lays back there and gallops around, but today he was a lot more keyed up and involved. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do but we were still in a good spot regardless and had an opportunity to get out. We got out at about the quarter pole to make a run and he just didn’t have the kick that he did at Delta. We stretched him out from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16-miles. Nothing went wrong, but we learned a lot. Just not the result we were hoping for. But he will come back.”
Vacherie Girl Back to Winning Ways in Crescent City Oaks
Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Vacherie Girl returned to the form she flaunted in her first two career starts when she rallied between horses in the stretch and surged clear under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. to prevail by 3 ½ lengths in the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies.
In her first couple of appearances at Fair Grounds, Vacherie Girl touted her potential by breaking her maiden at first asking by 6 ½ lengths on Nov. 28, then following that up with a 1 ¼-length triumph in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes going six furlongs on Dec. 14.
After closing out her juvenile campaign with a third-place run in the Dec. 29 Louisiana Futurity, Vacherie Girl had her connections scratching their heads when she ran last of nine during her sophomore debut in the LA Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes at Delta Downs on Feb. 8. The daughter of Tapiture more than made amends for that off day by putting herself in the mix early in the Crescent City Oaks and responding with authority when called upon for her best run.
With 43-1 shot Georgia Dawn leading Oh Toodles through the opening quarter-mile in :24.08, Vacherie Girl settled a few lengths behind in third with race favorite Steph’sfullasugar sitting off her flank in fourth. By the time Georgia Dawn reached the half-mile in :48.49, Vacherie Girl had dropped back to fourth as Steph’sfullofsugar began making her bid three-wide and threatening the top group with about three furlongs remaining.
Oh Toodles ultimately took command around the far turn and led the charge in early stretch only to have Vacherie come with her kick under Santana, who had maneuvered her down the middle. The Steve Asmussen-trained filly then put away Quikfast N Ahurry to her outside and finished up willingly, covering the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.65 over a track rated fast.
Quikfast N Ahurry held for place honors with Saber Cut third and Oh Toodles fourth. Steph’sfullasugar, the 1-2 betting choice, faded to finish last in the field of seven.
Sebs Princess was a late scratch out of the Crescent City Oaks after rearing in the gate.
Sent off at 5-1 odds, Vacherie Girl was bred by Georgia Farms out of the Officer mare Saucey Officer and improves her record to three wins from five starts with a bankroll of $143,307.
Scott Blasi, assistant to winning trainer Steve Asmussen – “I still think she handled the track over there (at Delta) and the tight turns. We gave her plenty of time in between races. She had three races in a short period of time. Giving her a break, freshening her up and pointing her towards this race gave us a good advantage.”
Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. – “She broke pretty good. She put herself in a good spot. I was just being a good passenger and she brought us to victory today. She gave me a nice end.”
Florent Geroux, jockey of 2nd place Quikfast N Ahurry – “She felt good. She got away from me the last 1/16 of a mile. She tried hard. We were just second best.”
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