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Barn Notes: Thursday, December 22

·        McGee After Win 1,000

·        Include Betty Looks for Winner’s Circle in Tiffany Lass

·        I’m a Chatterbox Tops Work Tab


Had Thursday’s Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots card come off the turf, trainer Paul McGee would have had a chance to earn his 1,000th career victory as a conditioner with Kim Beegle’s Genuine Luckin the seventh race.

Instead, the 54-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native will take three stabs at the milestone next Thursday, Dec. 29, with Amerman Racing’s Tempestuously (sixth race) and Jay Em Ess Stable’s pair ofDecember Seven(seventh race) andOne Dollar(10th race). His top chance may be with promising sophomore December Seven, who is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in 1 1/16-miles two-other-than allowance on the main track against older horses.

McGee spends his year between New Orleans in the winter and various Kentucky tracks through the remainder of the year and has won 19 graded stakes throughout his career. His two Grade I victories include the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 2003 with Honor in War and the Hollywood Starlet in 2000 with I Believe in You. Other notable pupils include multiple Grade II winner Suave, top handicappers Majestic Harbor and Demarcation and 14-time stakes winner and two-time Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint-placed Bet On Sunshine.

Renowned for his patience, the Bellarmine College alum has a career strike rate of 18.1% with career earnings in excess of $31.2 million.


After what was a stellar sophomore campaign in 2015, Brereton C. Jones and Timothy C. Thornton’s Include Betty has gone winless in four starts in 2016. The Grade I-winning daughter of Include will try to remove that blemish when she drops in class into the $50,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes on Monday, Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

“She’s doing well and we think it’ll be a good spot,” reported Lindsay Schultz, Fair Grounds-based assistant to trainer Tom Proctor. “She’s been doing well since she got (to Fair Grounds). She seems to make her own race, so hopefully she runs well.”

Last out, as the 5-2 second choice, she failed to factor in the Grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. Finishing 10th of 11 that day, she wore blinkers for the first time – a piece of equipment that will come off for her New Orleans debut. Winner of the Grade I Mother Goose as a sophomore, she showed she may be returning to form with a smart five-furlong drill on the local surface Dec. 20 in 1:01.40 – good for fifth-best of 23 moves at the distance

A one-run closer, Include Betty should not be bothered too much by her rail draw. The homebred earner of $779,780 was assigned 9-5 morning-line favoritism and will be ridden by Gabriel Saez for the first time.


Carolyn and Fletcher Gray’s multiple Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox showed that her time off since the Breeders’ Cup did her well with a bullet three-furlong move in 36.80 on Thursday morning. The seven-time stakes-winning daughter of Munnings is being aimed at the Grade III $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 29 by trainer Larry Jones.

Most impressive on the tab for Jones Thursday morning was stakes-winning speedster Chief Istan, who worked a swift half-mile in 47.80 for owners Sagamore Farm and Brereton C. Jones. The son of Istan was last seen finishing a disappointing last in the $75,000 Zia Sprint as the 6-5 favorite. Eight weeks prior, he was a sharp winner of the $75,000 Challedon Stakes at Laurel.

Another to watch who worked well for Jones was Fox Hill Farms’ lightly raced 5-year-old mare Cinnamon Spice, who went five furlongs in 1:01.80 in advance of her first two-turn dirt race in Monday’s $50,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes.

Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ stakes-winningRocket Time, who was scratched out of last week’s $75,000 Tenacious Stakes, worked six furlongs in 1:14 flat for trainer Al Stall, Jr.