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BARN NOTES: January 24, 2016

  • ·        Clearly Now Impressive in Allowance Score
  • ·        Eden Prairie Aims to Mardi Gras
  • ·        Vici Could Do Some Conquering in 2016
  • ·        NHC Features Two Fair Grounds Qualifiers
  • ·        Work Tab



Brittlyn Stable’s Clearly Now asserted his class over last-out conqueror Control Stake on Saturday afternoon at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, skipping home by 3¼ lengths to his seventh career victory and first for trainer Ron Faucheux in two starts. A private purchase following an allowance win in early September, the multiple graded stakes-winning 6-year-old son of Horse Greeley closed his final quarter in 23.37 seconds to finish up in 1:09.47 and defeat three stakes winners, including runner-up Too Dim and fifth-place finisher Nates Mineshaft, in the process. The effort earned him a 99 Beyer Speed Figure to tie him for the fifth-fastest figure thus far 2016.

“He’s good and came out perfect,” Faucheux said on Sunday morning. “It was great to win. He had a rough trip in the ($60,000) Thanksgiving (Handicap on Nov. 26). This is the horse he is. I expected him to run a good race. He was training really well and he’s a handful, as you could see from the paddock. It was only my second time saddling him and he was trained a little lighter going into this, which is why you saw him (as fresh as) he was.

“We’re not going to make any decisions yet as far as his next race,” Faucheux continued. “We’ll see how it plays out. He’s got some good races left in him.”


Lothenbach Stables’ Fair Grounds favorite Eden Prairie looks to be nearing the end of her racing career, but still has a fight or two left in her, according to trainer Neil Pessin. The four-time stakes winner over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course and five-time winner in 10 starts at the New Orleans oval is aiming toward the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes over 5½ grassy furlongs on Feb. 9.

Last seen finishing seventh of 10 when failing in a defense attempt of the $60,000 Blushing K. D., she was second by a neck one race prior going a turf mile to multiple stakes performer Zubi Zubi Zu. The daughter of Mizzen Mast – the sire of two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection – is winless since last February’s $60,000 Bayou Stakes at Fair Grounds, which is arguably the top performance of her five-season career.

“In the Blushing K. D. she didn’t have an excuse,” Pessin said. “She is working well, is fit and she will have two more works before the Mardi Gras.

“Sometimes when they get older – like with Fort Prado a few years ago – they wake up when you try them going five and a half (furlongs on the grass),” Pessin continued. “They resurge and you get a better performance. If she does well, we’ll maybe run her a few more times. Otherwise, we’ll retire her and I’ll look forward to training her babies.”

The Mardi Gras will be her fourth attempt in a turf sprint. She was fourth on debut in a five-furlong 2-year-old turf dash at Arlington International in Sept. 2012. Almost exactly two years later she was a sharp third in the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint going 6½ furlongs, which was followed by finishing sixth of 12 in a salty renewal of the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland going the Mardi Gras’ trip.



One of the more impressive returns to racing so far this 2015-16 Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet was Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Vici – whose name means ‘I conquered’ in Latin – when the son of War Front returned from an eight-month layoff to win his turf dash debut going 5½ furlongs for trainer Al Stall, Jr., on Jan. 18.

Last seen finishing seventh in a nine-furlong turf allowance at Churchill Downs, the muscular well-bred 4-year-old gelding broke his maiden going a mile and 70 yards on the Fair Grounds main track on New Year’s Day 2015 and was winless in three subsequent starts.

“He had been training really well and is just a big, growthy horse and needed one more break to get him fully furnished out,” Stall explained. “It really helped. He didn’t have any surgeries or anything. He just hung out at the farm.

“He came back exactly how you want a horse to come back and we liked the way he breezed,” Stall continued. “Being a War Front, we thought going short on the grass would be fine. He’ll have another allowance race next out and then we’ll look from there. It’ll be at 5 ½ (furlongs) or maybe even two turns.”



Two qualifiers from the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Dec. 19 tournament – Charlie Ricks and Ronald Golemi – will be traveling to Las Vegas for the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament – next weekend’s $2.75 million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC).

While a bio was unavailable for Golemi, the 56-year-old Ricks is a lifelong Fair Grounds fan and General Manager at ESPN Radio New Orleans who resides in Mandeville, Louisiana.



Brittlyn Stable’s Louisiana-bred fan favorite Sunbean worked five furlongs in 1:04 flat for trainer Ron Faucheux. The 12-time stakes-winning millionaire from 21 starts is unraced since Feb. 7, 2015.

Carolyn Friedberg and Jeff Larson’s Inconclusive, who was sharp when taking a turf allowance for 3-year-old fillies on Jan. 8 for trainer Richie Scherer, worked a half-mile in 50 flat.  She is possible for the $50,000 Joseph E. ‘Spanky’ Broussard Stakes on Feb. 5.

Trainer Danny Pish and Dennis Foster’s Mending Fences worked three furlongs in a sharp 35 flat, easily getting the bullet on the day, in advance of next weekend’s $50,000 Keith Gee Memorial over the Stall-Wilson turf course. The turf-loving son of Colonel John is wheeling back from a lackluster effort in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16 in his dirt debut.

-Michael Adolphson | Media Specialist, Senior Writer