Home of the Louisiana Derby

BARN NOTES: December 5, 2015

  • ·        Noble Thought Grand in Graduation
  • ·        Pumpkin Rumble Rounding Back into Form
  • ·        Ride On Curlin Tops Work Tab




Leading trainer Mike Stidham added to what has been an impressive meet so far for the veteran conditioner when taking the meet’s first two-turn open maiden special weight for 2-year-olds on Friday with Pin Oak Stud’s homebred Noble Thought. The dark bay Kentucky-bred overcame the outside 11-post and a game 4-5 favorite in No Distortion – a half-brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell – when winning by 2½ lengths at the wire under Colby Hernandez and rewarding the Fair Grounds faithful who stuck with him while he drifted from 7-2 morning line favoritism to 5-1 at post time.

Noble Thought was making his first start for Stidham after three winless efforts in Canada at Woodbine for previous conditioner Malcolm Pierce. Though without victory, the maternal grandson of champion Maria’s Mon did not disgrace in those efforts, finishing third twice and second once – all in seven-furlong races. Friday’s win was his first attempt at two turns and on a dirt course after racing solely on Woodbine’s synthetic Polytrack.

Noble Thought, a son of stakes-winning No Use Denying who hails from the family of champions Chris Evert and Winning Colors, was one of three horses Pin Oak sent to Stidham this fall. The promising juvenile will now be nominated to the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, scheduled for Jan. 16, with a wait-and-see approach, according to Stidham. The trainer also reported on Saturday morning that Noble Thought “looks great” and exited his race well.



Al and Bill Ulwelling’s consistent and game stakes winner Pumpkin Rumble continues to work well for trainer Brad Cox and looks to be rounding back into his best form if his morning work is any indication. On Friday morning, the son of English Channel worked a half-mile in 49 flat and is under consideration for a couple races for what would be his third race since being transferred from the barn of Gary Scherer.

“We have had him for a few months and he’s doing well,” Cox said. “He breezed good for us and we’ll look at either an allowance race – because he still has a condition – or the ($60,000 Buddy) Diliberto (Stakes on Dec. 19).”

A turf route closer, the chestnut 4-year-old gelding’s credible acceleration was on display this past summer when taking the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park. Though winless in six starts at Fair Grounds, he did finish third in last season’s $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes over a sloppy course.

“His work went really well on the dirt,” Cox continued. “I’m looking forward to running him. He is not an easy horse to win with because he has to have a few things go his way, but things are stepping up for him.”



Classic-placed Ride On Curlin was impressive on Saturday morning, working a sharp seven furlongs in 1:26.40 for trainer Billy Gowan and owner Daniel Dougherty.

Grade II winner Coup de Grace worked another sharp three furlongs for trainer Larry Jones this week, this time going in 36.80. It was the Fox Hill Farm-owned son of Tapit’s second work since returning from a freshening.

Well-bred multiple allowance winner and Grade III-placed 4-year-old filly Cash Control – a half-sister to Due Date, Good Deed, Country Day and recent winner Cash Back – worked a half-mile in 51.40 for trainer Brad Cox and owners Richard and Bertram Klein.

Hernandez Racing Club’s Este Es, who should be one of the likely choices in next Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, worked a half-mile in 49.60 for trainer Armando De La Cerda.

Keith Plaisance’s Pacific Pink put the finishing touches on her preparation for next Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies with a five-furlong gate work in 1:00 flat for trainer Eddie Johnston.

Multiple stakes-winning Stall-Wilson turf course specialist Eden Prairie worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 for trainer Neil Pessin and owner Lothenbach Stables.

Dare To Dream Stable’s Jockamo’s Song, who will step up from a romping maiden special weight victory into next weekend’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint for trainer Mike Stidham, worked a half-mile in 51 flat.

Stakes winner Rocket Time worked a half-mile in 49.20 for trainer Al Stall, Jr., and owner Frank Fletcher Racing Operations.

Multiple graded stakes winner Nates Mineshaft worked a half-mile in 50.40 for trainer Anne Smith and owner Windy Hill Farm.


-Michael Adolphson
Media Specialist, Senior Writer