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BARN NOTES: December 26, 2015

  • ·        Smittys Cougar Will Try to Last vs. Eight Others in La. Futurity
  • ·        Icy Gentleman, John’s Luck Top Colt and Gelding Division of La. Futurity
  • ·        Work Tab

 

 

SMITTYS COUGAR WILL TRY TO LAST VS. EIGHT OTHERS IN LA. FUTURITY

The speedy and well-bred Louisiana-bred juvenile filly Smittys Cougar has been established as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Thursday’s renewal of the Louisiana Futurity for fillies, a $96,970 event over six furlongs that goes off as race seven, and kicks off a 50-cent pick-4 that culminates with the male counterpart of the same name and purse.

A daughter of graded stakes-winning sprinter Half Ours – a son of Unbridled’s Song out of a full-sister to fellow top Louisiana stallion (and American Pharoah’s damsire) Yankee Gentleman – out of multiple stakes-winning turf sprinter and conqueror of her male counterparts Smittys Sunshine, Smittys Cougar has been well-regarded since the beginning. A winner for trainer Ron Faucheux in her second start by 13¼ lengths at Delta Downs on Oct. 17 after a third-place finish in a grassy debut at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 18, she came back to win an allowance at this trip on Nov. 19 in her third start. Last out, she was third after setting a swift pace in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, also at this six-panel trip.

She came out in good order,” Faucheux said. “The speed wasn’t holding as much as it had been and that kind of hurt her a little bit on Champions Day. She’s a really fast filly and we’re hoping she can sustain her run going the trip. We haven’t worked her between races. We just freshened her and I think she’ll handle the two stakes (in a three-week period).

“She will likely be better on the grass,” he continued. “First time out we had excuses, but I think she’ll really wind up being a little better on it. Half Ours (offspring) seem to really like the grass, so obviously she’s bred for it.”

Smittys Cougar picks up a new rider in Jose Valdivia, Jr., who breaks from post three with the emblazoned chestnut filly.

Her main rival looks to be Wells Watson and Robert Davis’ 5-2 morning-line second choice Thegoodwitch, who ran like a good thing when winning her debut on Nov. 20 for trainer Al Stall, Jr. The daughter of My Pal Charlie closed from 2 ½ lengths back in third, while taking dirt on the rail, to overpower her rivals by two lengths at the wire in 1:05.40, earning a 71 Beyer Speed Figure – at least four points higher than any of her eight Futurity rivals. Colby Hernandez, who rode Smittys Cougar in her last three races, retains the mount from post eight.

The remainder of the field is comprised of Carmen’s Rose (Florent Geroux, rail), Rita’s Fifty Seven (Erica Murray, post two), Wave Goodbye (Richard Eramia, post four), Mink Coat Mimi (Francisco Torres, post five), Carlientita (Patrick Valenzuela, post six), Custom Paint Job (Robby Albarado, post seven) and Reality Is Great (Jamie Theriot, post nine).

 

ICY GENTLEMAN, JOHN’S LUCK TOP COLT & GELDING DIVISION OF LA. FUTURITY

Ironwater Farms Joint Venture’s homebred Icy Gentleman, a stakes winner earlier this year when taking the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 8, and Valene Farm’s John’s Luck – who were separated by less than a length when third and fourth three weeks ago in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Futurity, top a wide-open field in the $96,970 Louisiana Futurity on Thursday, Dec. 31.

Game throughout last time, Henry Johnson-trained Icy Gentleman lost by 2¼ lengths after never relinquishing his show spot throughout and rewarding those who did not dismiss his 32-1 odds when including him in their trifectas. One race prior, he collided with another horse, resulting in a loss of rider and a grabbed quarter in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Futurity at Delta Downs.

“He’s doing really good,” Johnson said. “He ran a nice race (last time). He recovered well from (the Jean Lafitte), but we missed a little time with him. He stepped on himself and it was just one of those things. I know (Half Cajun, Richard Eramia, post two) can run and will be tough and the ones who finished near us last time will be tough to beat, but we’re hoping for a good race.”

Icy Gentleman will be ridden by Miguel Mena for the first time from post four, while John’s Luck – an allowance winner at this trip on Nov. 20 – will be ridden by Robby Albarado for the first time from the rail.

One to watch as he looks for his third consecutive victory is Larry Romero’s Rock N Sake (Colby Hernandez, post five), who followed a five-furlong Delta Downs maiden win on Nov. 5 for trainer Ron Faucheux with a local state-bred one-mile grass allowance optional claiming victory on Dec. 11 by an impressive two lengths.

“He’s probably a turf route horse, however there aren’t a lot of times you get to run for a hundred thousand against Louisiana-breds – plus our options for turf routing are limited for now,” Faucheux said. “We know he can do both. We’re just thinking that with a little time between races he’s matured and can compete against these. Hopefully he can run well and it will maybe set him up for the ($125,000 Louisiana) Premier Night (Prince) going seven-eighths (on Feb. 6).”

The remainder of the colt and gelding division of the Louisiana Futurity is comprised of Cameron Rules (Florent Geroux, post three), Blue Tizzy (Brian Hernandez, Jr., post six), Anterior (Patrick Valenzuela, post seven), G’s Josh (Roberto Morales, post eight) and Chattanoogan (Francisco Torres, post nine).

 

WORK TAB

Michael Langford’s Steve Asmussen-trained graded stakes winner Carve worked a half-mile in sloppy going on Christmas Eve in 50.60.

Highly regarded Mike Stidham trainee Mi Fiori had her first work back since proving victorious in her first race in nearly 14 months on Dec. 10 in a maiden turf dash, going a half-mile on Saturday morning in 51 flat for owners Brent Gasaway et al.

Multiple stakes winner Rise Up (above) worked a half-mile in 48.80 on Christmas Eve before the deluge forced the track to be sloppy. The Tom Amoss trainee exits a third-place finish in the Listed $250,000 Delta Mile on Nov. 21.