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Barn Notes: Friday, December 12

IN TODAY'S NOTES: BUGGIN OUT AND IRA TAKE ALABAMA-BRED STAKES; MCPEEK INVADES CHAMPIONS DAY WITH JUMELAKA; GANTRY RETURNS TO FORM, BONAPAW NEXT; PROMISING MAIDEN VICTORY FOR TIZNOW R J; MILE RACES RETURN TO FAIR GROUNDS SUNDAY

 

                                                                BUGGIN OUT AND IRA TAKE ALABAMA-BRED STAKES         

Two Alabama-bred stakes took center stage on Friday afternoon at Fair Grounds Race Course.  In the $50,000 Magic City for 3-year-olds and upward over a mile and 70 yards, Dennis Murphy’s Kenneth Hargrave-trained Buggin Out led gate to wire and obliged the wagering public as its prohibitive favorite.  The son of Indy went wire-to-wire to a 7¼-length victory in a time of 1:43.61.  Under leading rider James Graham, Buggin Out paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40.  Defending Magic City champ Busted Account paid $5.60 and $4 in the place spot and Joyce’s Buckaroo rounded out the top three, paying $8.60 to show.         

Jerry Hackett’s Ira won the $25,000 Kudzu Juvenile under Forest Boyce after an outside trip that saw the 2-year-old gelding lose ground while 3- and 4-wide.  The daughter of J Be K won the first race of her career in the Kudzu in what was her sixth start for trainer Randy Nunley and paid $8.40, $4 and $2.80.  A very green A Bandit Walking was second under Abel Lezcano paying $6 and $4.60 and Mide as Well paid $5.40 to show.   Ira covered the 5½ furlongs in 1:07.21.

 

                                                                 MCPEEK INVADES CHAMPIONS DAY WITH JUMELAKA        

Trainer Kenny McPeek’s stable must always be respected – especially when they ship to the Fair Grounds.  The conditioner who has both a Louisiana Derby and Fair Grounds Oaks trophy to his credit will bring in Magdalena Racing’s Jumelaka for Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie and he hope he can take another trophy home with him from the New Orleans oval.

“She’s doing well,” McPeek said.  “She’d been in Kentucky for a while after her last race, so it was easy enough to get her down to the Fair Grounds.  It’s a good spot for her.”

A daughter of Grade I Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Neko Bay from the family of champion Althea, the Louisiana-bred comes from a family flush with stamina influences.  Still, she has shown sharp speed in her three races, including a second in a starter allowance last out at Aqueduct in which she caught in the final strides. 

 “She’s fast, there’s no doubt about it,” McPeek said.  “I would like to see her not be one-dimensional, though.  (Jockey) Chris (Landeros) is good with those types of horses.  I’ll leave it up to him.”

Landeros will break from post five in a 12-horse field with the dark bay filly.  She is listed as the 4-1 second choice, behind stakes-winning 5-2 morning line favorite Vivian Da Bling, and will receive Lasix for the first time. 

 

GANTRY RETURNS TO FORM, BONAPAW NEXT

Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry silenced his doubters on Thursday afternoon as he returned to form with poise and defeated a tough turf allowance field that included two other graded stakes winners – Mike McCarty’s Unbridled’s Note and End Zone Athletics’ Sum of the Parts.  Ridden for the first time by Miguel Mena, who was substituting for injured regular pilot Richard Eramia, the son of Pulpit was confidently handled over a surface upon which his dam – multiple stakes winner Rhum – excelled best.

“He came out really well,” trainer Ron Faucheux reported on Friday morning.  “It was nice to have him back.  He’s no worse for wear today.  I’ll probably run in the Bonapaw, then we’ll take it from there.”

The allowance victory was especially fulfilling for his connections considering the 7-year-old gelding had shown little in the Thanksgiving Handicap – a race he had won twice – two weeks prior and was wheeled back in hopes that he would return to his best form.  

The $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes on Jan. 3 is over the same 5½-furlong course and distance as his Thursday victory, as well as his only other victory of 2014 – the $60,000 Colonel Power Stakes.  The win was Gantry’s 11th in 27 starts, increased his earnings to $848,331 and made the dark bay war horse a perfect two-for-two over the local turf course.

                                                                   PROMISING MAIDEN VICTORY FOR TIZNOW R J          

The first two-turn open race for juveniles did not disappoint in providing a promising prospect for the classics on Thursday afternoon.  Mike McCarty’s Tiznow R J – a handsome, well built son of Tiznow – went wire to wire comfortably by an eye-catching 13 ¼ lengths.  Sent off as the 5-2 second-choice behind Fox Hill Farm’s first-time starter Bluff, the Florida-bred won with ease under a hand ride, despite looking green down the stretch and not changing leads until well within the final eighth of a mile.

The victory earned Tiznow R J an excellent 86 Beyer Speed Figure and 101 Equibase Speed Figure and made him an instant horse to watch as the racing world shifts its focus to the Triple Crown season.  Winning in his first start around two turns, the son of stakes-placed Broken Vow mare Ruban Bleu had previously finished third in two one-mile maiden special weights at Churchill Downs.  Robby Albarado was in the saddle. 


MILE RACES RETURN TO FAIR GROUNDS SUNDAY

            Fair Grounds Race Course will begin carding and running one-mile races on the main track starting on Sunday, December 12, in an effort to provide more options to local horsemen.  Owing to the layout of the dirt course, one-mile races will begin and end at the sixteenth-pole in order to avoid a short run into the first turn.  There is one race carded on Sunday at one mile, the first race of the day at 1:25 p.m.