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S'maverlous Shocks in Grade II New Orleans Handicap

 A $32,000 claim in September 2015, Gata Racing Stable’s S’maverlous joined the ranks of graded stakes winners when capturing Saturday’s Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day presented by TwinSpires.com at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Making his stakes debut for trainer Mike Maker, S’maverlous was settled into a pressing position by Jose Lezcano, just rating off pacesetting Coup de Grace through splits of 23.65, 47.67 and 1:12.07. After moving past the leader at the top of the lane, the 6-year-old son of Tiz Wonderful clicked off a mile in 1:37.09 before completing the 1 1/8-miles trip in 1:50.06 over a fast main track.

“He broke very good,” said Lezcano. “He took me there and then went on and won the race. He was very good today. I stuck with (Coup de Grace) and my horse was very comfortable and I had plenty all the way around.”

Trainer Mike Maker was also pleased with the performance. “No complaints from me. I got him last fall at Belmont. He’s bred for the distance. You take horses who are doing well, you hope they can run the way he did. We rolled the dice and it paid off.”

Mark Breen’s Mike Stidham-trained Jessica’s Star was in close range throughout and stayed on well to cross the wire second, two lengths behind the winner under Mitchell Murrill, but upon stewards’ review, was disqualified to fifth for causing interference in the stretch. A half-length further back under John Velazquez was Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star, who was elevated to second to complete a Maker-trained exacta.

William Farish’s Neil Howard-trained race favorite Eagle, checked in fourth under the wire for Javier Castellano, but was awarded third, with Gallant Stable’s Majestic Harbor also gaining a position after the disqualification, moving up to fourth for trainer Paul McGee and jockey Corey Lanerie.

“Perfect trip, got to sit just off the pace like I wanted to,” Murrill said. “I had plenty of horse all the way around and when the running started, he was game and ran to his best potential, he just wasn’t quite good enough to outrun the winner. The middle horse (Majestic Harbor) didn’t have much to get in there and stay in there, and the outside horse came down toward me and then maybe I took a half step out, but I don’t think it was enough to cause any kind of inquiry.”

S’maverlous returned $42.40, $15.60 and $6.40, earning $240,000 to boost his career bankroll to $514,716 while winning for the eighth time in 20 lifetime starts. International Star paid $4.20 and $3.20, and Eagle returned $3.

Coup de Grace, Mobile Bay, Freestyler, Stormdriver and Ride on Curlin completed the order of finish.

Alongside the four Grade II events run at Fair Grounds on Saturday, five undercard stakes were also offered, including four for Louisiana-breds.

New Orleans Ladies

In a near carbon copy of last month’s Daisy Devine Stakes, it was a stretch-long battle between L. T. B., Inc. and Hillerich Racing’s Mizz Money (Bernie Flint, Robby Albarado) and Richard and Bertram Klein’s Cash Control (Brad Cox, Shaun Bridgmohan), but this time it was Mizz Money turning the tables on her Daisy Devine conqueror with a nose win in the $50,000 New Orleans Ladies Overnight at 1 1/16 miles on the Stall-Wilson turf course.

Mizz Money ($8.40, $4 and $2.80) sat close to the opening splits of 23.31, 48.65 and 1:13.23 before leading through the mile in 1:36.61 and finishing the trip in 1:42.69. Cash Control ($3 and $2.20) loomed throughout the stretch but could not get past while finishing 2½ lengths clear of Brad Grady’s Joe Sharp-trained Mexican Miss ($3.40) in third under Brian Hernandez, Jr.

The $30,260 winner’s share boosted Mizz Money’s bankroll to $248,248 with her fifth win in 18 lifetime starts.

The remainder of the New Orleans Ladies field was comprised of Susie Bee, Christie’s Ready, Stoupinator, La Majestique and Bibby.   

Star Guitar Stakes

In a fitting result, Brittlyn Stable’s Ron Faucheux-trained Louisiana-bred millionaire Sunbean ($3, $2.60 and $2.10) captured the $60,000 Star Guitar Stakes, a race named for his owner’s other Pelican State-bred millionaire, Star Guitar. Under Richard Eramia, Sunbean negotiated the 1 1/16-miles trip on the main track in 1:44.93 and crossed the wire 1¼ lengths clear of Hopeful Notion ($4.40 and $2.40), with One King’s Man ($2.10) another three lengths back in third.

Hot Zapper and Next Event completed the order of finish.

Crescent City Derby

Norman Stables’ Classy Bird ($37.20, $12.40 and $7.60) commenced a rally at the top of the lane and continued on to capture the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for trainer Lonnie Briley and jockey Francisco Torres. Completing the 1 1/16-miles trip in 1:46.33, Classy Bird crossed the wire a length clear of Extra Credit ($4.80 and $4.20). Ekati Warrior ($6.00) finished another two lengths back in third while clear of race favorite Mageez.

Hunker Down, Sea Vow, Chattanoogan, Great Value, Mick, John’s Luck, Half Cajun and Icy Gentleman completed the order of finish.

Crescent City Oaks

Having never raced beyond six furlongs proved to be no problem for Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Tom Amoss-trained Our Lady Allie ($5.20, $2.60, $2.60) who successfully rationed her speed through one mile and 70 yards on the main track in 1:44.20 in Saturday’s $75,000 Crescent City Oaks. Ridden by James Graham, Our Lady Allie was never threatened while finishing 4½ lengths clear of the race’s slight favorite Jet Black Magic ($3.00 and $2.20), with Sunny Oak ($3.40) another half length back in third. Midwest Thoroughbreds clinched its first Fair Grounds meet title with the victory.

Ide Biduadeau, Hopette, Aunt Nellie, Jaded Rose and Thegoodwitch completed the order of finish.

Costa Rising Stakes

Dare to Dream Stable’s Mike Stidham-trained Jockamo’s Song ($15.80, $7.40 and $5.80) spied the early pace and pressed past the pacesetter in the lane under Mitchell Murrill to tally his second stakes win of the season in Saturday’s $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes. The winner stopped the clock in 1:03.19 for the 5½-furlong trip on the Stall-Wilson turf course while a half-length ahead of Eden Grey’s Kitten ($6.80 and $5). Brilliant Interest ($10.40) set the early splits but could not maintain his advantage in the lane, finishing another 1½ lengths back in third

McGehee’s Mercy, Hail to the Nile, Too Dim, Win Lion Win, Mr. L. S. Shoe, Masster Chief Ron, race favorite Heitai and Just Kissing Buck completed the finish.