Home of the Louisiana Derby

Enterprising Doubles Up in Muniz Memorial; Undercard Stakes Stars Shine

Maxis Stable’s Enterprising benefitted from a ground-saving trip under Tyler Gaffalione to come out on the winning end of a three-horse photo by a neck in the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap, the marquee turf event of the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet. Wimborne Farm’s Ignacio Correas IV-trained race favorite Kasaqui closed stoutly for second under Robby Albarado, a nose ahead of Oscar Nominated, who was close to the early pace and held on for third for Florent Geroux and trainer Mike Maker.

A 6-year-old Florida-bred by Elusive Quality, the winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.41 over a turf course rated good and paid $14.20 as a 6-1 fourth choice. Kasaqui returned $3.60 and $2.60 with Oscar Nominated paying $3.

Breaking from the inside post, Gaffalione settled Enterprising in midpack and kept him settled on the rail around the first turn and down the backside. Into the far turn they shifted out one path to move into striking position before finding daylight on the inside again, assuming the lead approaching the sixteenth-pole.

“We saved all the ground and when we came into the stretch, the rail opened and my horse hit the hole running,” said Gaffalione, who was riding at Fair Grounds for the first time.

Favored Kasaqui rallied from the back of the pack but had to circle five-wide into the stretch. Oscar Nominated, meanwhile, had a clean trip closer to the pace but gave up ground three-wide on both turns.

“I had a great trip. I saved ground on both turns,” Albarado said. “I came out turning for home and he ran hard. I can’t take anything away from the winner.”

Longshot Sky Flight set moderate fractions of 23,77, 48.27, and 1:11.90 before retreating sharply. Bullards Alley came from far out of it to get fourth at 26-1. One Mean Man, Special Ops, Blarp, Granny’s Kitten, Roman Approval, Pumpkin Rumble, and Sky Flight completed the order of finish.

Enterprising also won last month’s Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap and hasn’t finished out of the money in eight starts since being turned over to trainer Mike Maker. The $180,000 winner’s share of the purse boosted his earnings to $774,040 from nine wins in 29 starts.

Four undercard stakes were contested on Louisiana Derby Day, including three for Louisiana-breds.

Darrell and Sadie Brommer’s Prado’s Sweet Ride tracked the early pace and edged clear late to win the $50,000 New Orleans Ladies Overnight by three-quarters of a length. Ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr. for trainer Richie Scherer, the daughter of Fort Prado tracked early splits of 23.40, 47.10 and 1:10.92 before completing the 1 1/16 miles trip in 1:41.52 over a Stall-Wilson turf course rated good. Richard and Bertram Klein’s Brad-Cox trained 2-5 favorite Cash Control was in close range throughout and led briefly in the stretch under Shaun Bridgmohan but was unable to repel the winner’s challenge. Selenite was another length back in third under Florent Geroux for trainer Brad Cox.

“We had a perfect trip,” Hernandez, Jr. said “We followed Cash Control the whole way around there and we got through up the inside and she responded.”

Prado’s Sweet Ride earned $30,070 to boost her career bankroll to $266,812 with her sixth win in 18 lifetime starts and returned $13.80, $3.80 and $2.60. Cash Control paid $2.20 and $2.10, and Selenite returned $3.

Susie Bee, Factory of Faith, Dynazar, Princess Erindelle and Emerald Pond completed the order of finish. Silent Ronin scratched.

One race later, Brittlyn Stable’s Mr. Al’s Gal captured her fourth consecutive stakes race with a half-length win in the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds. Ridden again by Richard Eramia for trainer Ron Faucheux, the daughter of Salute the Sarge assumed command out of the gate and clocked splits of 23.57, 46.50 and 1:11.57 before repelling a late challenge from Royce G. Roberts’ Rose Guitar to complete the one mile and 70 yards trip on the main track in 1:43.06. Rose Guitar, under Diego Saenz for trainer Jose Mendez, was three-quarters of a length to the good of West Point Thoroughbreds’ Dallas-Stewart-trained Moonlightnmidnight, who rallied for third under Florent Geroux.

“She broke really sharp,” Eramia said. “We went a little quick, but she did it by herself. I was waiting, and I was a little worried down the stretch. She backed up a little bit the last sixteenth but we still had the best horse.”

Mr. Al’s Gal earned $45,000 for the win and has now earned $250,280 in a six-race career that has included only one loss. She returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10 as the odds-on favorite, with Rose Guitar returning $6 and $4.40 and Moonlightnmidnight paying $4.40.

What’s the Point, Bermuda Star, My Gal Layla, Sashimi Blaster, Madame Begue, E Z’s All Attitude and Naughty Little Nun completed the order of finish. D’wild Muffin was scratched earlier in the day, and Our Millie was scratched just prior to the start.

Two races later, the Louisiana-bred 3-year-old boys had their shot in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Dan Casey and Elite Thoroughbred Racing’s True Emperor took control out of the gate under Jose Riquelme and was never seriously challenged through splits of 24.16, 48.32 and 1:13.16 before coming home a 2½-length longshot winner in a final time of 1:44.72. Trained by Lee Thomas, the son of Yes It’s True easily held Mallory Greiner’s Chris Richard-trained favorite Underpressure, who was ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr. and finished a head in front of Jeff Drown and owner-trainer Gary Scherer’s Jack Snipe’s in third under David Flores.

True Emperor won for the second time in three career starts and earned $45,000 to boost his career bankroll to $74,330. He returned $60, $20 and $11.60, with Underpressure paying $4.80 and $3.20 and Jack Snipe’s returning $3.60.

Paddy O’Lionel, Tip Tap Tapizar, Set Hut, Imindycatbirdseat, Magic Vow, Rollwithit, Evan Lee G, Big Maurice, Ida’s Warrior and Amp’d Up completed the order of finish.

The final of eight stakes races on the 15-race card was won by Whispering Oaks Farm’s Eden Grey’s Kitten, who turned the tables on Dare to Dream Stable’s favored Jockamo’s Song when posting a half-length score in the $60,000 Costa Rising Stakes for Louisiana-breds at 5½ furlongs on the turf. Florent Geroux guided the winner from a perfect, pressing spot for trainer Steve Flint through splits of 22.19 and 45.15 before edging clear late to complete the trip in 1:03.13. Ironwater Farms Joint Venture’s Henry Johnson, Jr.-trained Icy Gentleman tracked the early splits under Jorge Guzman and was able to nose out the Mike Stidham-trained Jockamo’s Song for second, with the latter ridden by Mitchell Murrill.

The win was Eden Grey’s Kitten’s seventh from 21 career starts and earned him $36,000 to increase his career bankroll to $228,260. The son of Kitten’s Joy returned $9.60, $5.40 and $3.20, with Icy Gentleman paying $8.40 and $5.60 and Jockamo’s Song returning $2.80.

Hail to the Nile, Brilliant Interest, Rock N Sake, Nubin Ridge, Just Kissing Buck, My Friend Flavin, Jazzy Rebel and Hunker Down completed the runner order.