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Barn Notes: Saturday, March 14

@AdolphsonRacing


SUNBEAN OFF UNTIL LATE SUMMER

Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean is getting a well-deserved break after a busy fall/winter campaign, according to trainer Ron Faucheux.  The 13-time winner did not exit his third-place finish at 2-5 odds in the $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship in top shape and has been given a rehabilitative break by his connections.

“He’s in Kentucky and he’s getting a breather after suffering a minor injury,” Faucheux said.  “He will be there for the next month or so and wil be back at the barn right after that.  I think he’ll be back racing toward the end of the summer and leading into the Delta Downs and Fair Grounds meets in the fall.”

Since Nov. 1, the 5-year-old gelded son of Brahms has raced four times, including a stakes treble in a 6-week period – the $100,000 Gold Cup and $250,000 Delta Mile (both at Delta Downs) and the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots – between Nov. 1 and Dec. 13.  After returning to training, the 12-time stakes-winning Louisiana homebred millionaire will look to win his third consecutive Louisiana Champions Day Classic.


LOUISIANA DERBY ONE OF THREE OPTIONS FOR ANOTHER LEMON DROP

Rigney Racing’s Another Lemon Drop has exited his second-place finish as the favorite in the $60,000 Black Gold Stakes in good order and is possible to return to the main course next out in the meet’s premier race – the Grade II $750,000 Louisiana Derby – according to conditioner Philip Bauer. 

“Right now we’re looking at the Louisiana Derby, the (Grade III $550,000) Spiral Stakes (at Turfway Park on Mar. 21) and the (Grade III $100,000) Transylvania (Stakes at Keeneland on Apr. 3),” Bauer reported.  “He came out great and could have gone around again.  He’s a fit horse and has maintained his level of fitness (throughout the winter).  The Spiral and Louisiana Derby are more appealing because of the distance being a mile and an eighth – it may not be in some other horses’ favors, but it is definitely in his.”

In the Black Gold, Another Lemon Drop made up 4½ lengths on loose-on-the-lead longshot Tuba, but fell a half-length short in the end under James Graham.  Earlier in the meet, the sleek dark bay son of Lemon Drop Kid won a sloppy one-mile allowance in sharp fashion by five lengths before finishing a game fourth – beaten five lengths – in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes five weeks prior to the Black Gold. 

As previously mentioned, the Spiral is at nine furlongs, but is contested on the synthetic Polytrack – a surface over which Another Lemon Drop has never raced.  In six starts, he has raced three times each on dirt and turf and has never finished worse than fourth – with a win on each surface, including a grassy maiden victory at 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland at second asking.  The Transylvania is contested at one mile on the turf.


HALF-BROTHERS AFFORD & FORDUBAI COULD FACE OFF IN NEW ORLEANS

Afford and Fordubai (above) have a lot in common and both very well may end up in the same gate on March 28.  Half-brothers by blood (out of the Unbridled mare Affordable) who each have just over 20 starts, five victories, are trained by Greg Geier and were bred by the late Jim Tafel – but the similarities end there.

“Afford is an aggressive type, but Fordubai is very laid back and nothing bothers him,” Geier explained.  “They both are doing very well, but they are really different from one another.”

Such can also be said of their form – both recent and past.  Fordubai, who has competed in stakes company in 17 of his last 18 races, has a solid record with $412,997 in earnings, two stakes victories and six stakes placings – two of which were graded.  Unfortunately, the son of E Dubai exits one of the worst performances in his career when he finished eighth – beaten nearly nine lengths – in the Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap, a race in which he finished third the year prior. 

Afford (above), slightly larger and darker in color than his 5-year-old younger sibling, failed to hit the board in six straight races – including a fifth in the aforementioned Mineshaft in the brothers’ only meeting – and has had his saddle number illuminated on the toteboard only once after a stakes race, when third in the 2011 $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes.  With $178,072 in earnings, he has consistently underachieved for his connections – but that all changed last out on Mar. 1.  Burying his opponents by 5½ lengths at 12-1 in a conditioned allowance, he won for the first time since November 2013 and earned the highest Equibase Speed Figure of his career – 117 – by 10 points.

“He really made it look easy, didn’t he?” Geier laughed.  “He’s a good horse and he’s doing well – they both are.  (Afford) really got a lot out of that sprint race (one race prior to his victory); it was like a nice work for him and got him going.  I’m not sure where we’re going with them, but they’re both being considered for the (Grade II $400,000) New Orleans Handicap.”

Geier also mentioned that the other older stakes horse in the barn, Street Spice, also by Tafel’s champion Street Sense, is doing well, but will not make the New Orleans.

“He’s doing really good right now,” he said.  “I just don’t think he’ll be ready yet, though.  He lost a couple weeks of work and it’s coming up too soon for him.”