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Barn Notes: Friday, January 23


AMOSS EXCITED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH WAR STORY

Tom Amoss – already a 10-time champion at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots – is having a huge meet by any trainer’s standards in this 143rd season of racing.  Striking at 36% and with a 12-win lead (through Thursday’s card) over his closest rival approaching the half-way point of the meet, the New Orleans native now looks to take home a prize he holds in high esteem – the Grade II $750,000 Louisiana Derby on Mar. 28. 

The conditioner’s best chance in 2015 may come in the form of Loooch Racing Stable and Chris Dunn’s War Story – a winner of two of three starts who was second in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Saturday, Jan. 17, off a 20-day rest.  Prior to that, the son of Northern Afleet was a sharp winner of a local one-mile allowance and was victorious in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs to kick off his career.

Performing on such short rest – especially at such a demanding level – is against the patient trainer’s usual modus operandi, but the chestnut gelding still raced gamely in defeat after a rough trip.

“He didn’t break well and was widest of all turning for home,” Amoss said.  “He came out good, though.  I was pleased even though we didn’t win.  Now we have plenty of time to use training as an art instead of the dealing with a short break and I look forward to that.”

War Story, who was purchased by his current owners between his first and second races, will now focus on the next step on the Louisiana road to the Triple Crown – the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 21.


ERAMIA SET TO RETURN JANUARY 29th

Jockey Richard Eramia, who has been out since suffering a shoulder injury in a Nov. 29 riding mishap, has been cleared and is currently working horses, according to agent Rick Mocklin.  The 33-year-old worked one horse on Wednesday morning, four on Thursday morning and is expected to work the same amount over the next few days.  A return to the race day saddle is tentatively planned for Jan. 29.  The multiple graded stakes-winning rider finished 14th in wins in the nation in 2014, despite not riding the final month of the year. 

Mocklin also reported that Andre Ramgeet, who suffered a broken clavicle and skull fractures in a bad spill in late December, is still in a slow healing process that is expected to include about four months of downtime.  The apprentice jockey is not expected to be back riding for at least six months and is currently on the mend with his family.


KISS TO REMEMBER GETS A TEXAS STRETCH-OUT SHOT

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ meet-leading owner, trainer and jockey will take their show on the road on Saturday with one of their best horses when conditioner Tom Amoss gives rider James Graham the leg-up on Maggi Moss’ Kiss to Remember in Sam Houston’s richest race, the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic. 

Currently listed at 6-1 on the morning line, the recent local winner of the off-the-turf one-mile $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes will take on fellow Fair Grounds-based expected favorite Cassatt, who enters for trainer Larry Jones and Fox Hill Farm. 

“We’re going to roll the dice with her,” Amoss said.  “She’s three turning four and a mile and a sixteenth is the farthest I’ll run her.  Plus, it’s too attractive a spot not to give it a try.”

The Maryland-bred daughter of Big Brown will be looking for her third stakes win.  She has placed in four others.


EAGLE TO STAY THE COURSE

William S. Farish’s Eagle, the beaten 3-1 morning line and post time favorite in last Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, has exited his disappointing seventh-place finish well, according to trainer Neil Howard.  Breaking from the far outside 11-hole with a short run to the first turn, the son of Candy Ride was bumped by Runhappy into the first turn and was five-wide on both bends before failing to threaten.  The result was his first poor performance in five starts.

“He came out well,” Howard reported.  “The post didn’t help him, but they all had to go on the same track.  Young horses sometimes get bumped and grab the bit on the backside.  He just kind of had a bad day.  Not every horse runs their A-game every time.”

Prior to the Lecomte, the chestnut was a game third – losing by less than a length – in the Grade II $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.  He was beaten that day by one of the current favorites for the Kentucky Derby, Zayat Stables’ El Kebeir, who has since returned to win the Grade III $200,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct for trainer John Terranova on Jan. 3.

“He’ll show his true colors,” Howard continued.  “Right now our plan is to stay on course (for the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 21).”