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Friesan Fire - Now That's a Horse of Different Colors

Headlines for Friday, February 06, 2009

  • Friesan Fire - Now That's a Horse of Different Colors
  • Four Gifts, Dumar Run Saturday as Heiligbrodts Vie for Owner Title
  • Jockey Miguel Mena Rides Thursday Triple


Friesan Fire - Now That's a Horse of Different Colors

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Back on Dec. 18, in a first-level allowance at Fair Grounds, Vinery Stable LLC and Fox Hill Farms Inc.'s Friesan Fire - wearing emerald green silks with a white yoke - made or forced the pace most of the way before finishing second.  Three weeks later, in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes here on Jan. 10, Friesan Fire took command in mid-stretch and drew clear for a clear-cut 1 1/2-length victory while jockey Gabriel Saez sported silks with red and white quarters.

What's going on here? Does the dual ownership of green and white Vinery and red and white Fox Hill Farms alternate their colors each time Friesan Fire goes to the post?

"These contracts between partners are all a little bit different," said Friesan Fire's trainer Larry Jones.  "I don't really know all the details of this one, but I know that this colt will be in the red and white silks (for the $200,000 Grade III Risen Star Stakes) Saturday.

"Basically, the way I understand it is that the idea is to keep shooting while you're winning with the same silks, but then switch to the other set when there's a loss," Jones said.  "Beyond that, however, there are sometimes specific prearranged silks agreements for certain races - like the Kentucky Derby."

Of course, Jones will not only saddle Friesan Fire in the Risen Star Saturday, but also the somewhat overlooked It Happened Again, who will go to the post in the orange and kelly green silks of Brereton Jones, very familiar to local fans after being worn aboard Proud Spell in the winner's circle after last season's Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.

Jones is quick to both out some similarities between Proud Spell and It Happened Again.

"Neither one of them is very flashy or particularly visually impressive," Jones said. "Both of them were withdrawn from sales consideration and kept at home because of minor flaws that may have compromised their sale value at the time, but both of them have a shown me a lot of talent.  Incidentally, that's also how It Happened Again got his name.  I think he may eventually surprise a lot of people."

Naturally, Friesan Fire's win in the Lecomte came on the same day that Cindy Jones' Just Jenda captured the $75,000 Tiffany Lass, and that filly is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday's Grade III Silverbulletday, final prep for next month's Fair Grounds Oaks.  With Larry's wife as the owner of record, Just Jenda's silks feature the family's orange and white theme.  How did those colors come to be?

"When I was back in high school in Hopkinsville, Ky. (about 60 miles south of Ellis Park)  I played basketball," said Jones.  "The school colors were orange and white and I always thought I looked particularly good in orange and white," said Jones.

"Then, when I married Cindy she didn't have too much of a problem with that," Jones said, "because she's a Tennessee project, and orange and white are also the colors of the University of Tennessee."


Four Gifts, Dumar Run Saturday as Heiligbrodts Vie for Owner Title 

With Four Gifts as the 3-1 second choice in the morning line for Saturday's Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes, and Dumar perhaps a somewhat generous 20-1 in the Grade III Risen Star, Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt are in a position to sweep Fair Grounds' 3-year-old stakes double in one of the special added exotic wagers added for Saturday's Louisiana Derby Preview Day.

The former high school sweethearts - both graduates of the University of Texas - could use the bullets in their quest for the leading owner title at Fair Grounds this year, where they are currently in a head-to-head battle with the partnership of 2007-08 leading owners Heflin and Driver Racing.

"Four Gifts is a very competitive filly," said Bill Heiligbrodt.  "The only question is whether she can get the (1 1/16-mile) distance.  "We're going to give her a try.  We're very optimistic, but we'll see how she does.  If she can't muster up a run at the distance, we'll make a sprinter out of her.  We'd love to win this race again.  We won it with Appealing Zophie two years ago."

Four Gifts finished third in Fair Grounds' $75,000 Tiffany Lass Jan. 10 going one mile at last asking but got the eight furlongs successfully in western Louisiana when taking the Grade III Delta Princess Dec. 5.

"As for Dumar," Heiligbrodt said, "we need to find out exactly where we are at with him.  He has lots of pizzazz, and distance is not a problem for him.  The only problem is - does he have enough speed at this distance against this level of competition?"

Dumar was clearly best in first level allowance company at Fair Grounds in his most recent start Jan. 17 when going a mile and 40 yards.  The Maria's Mon colt will have the riding services of Shaun Bridgmohan, usually trainer Steve Asmussen's first-call jockey, although Asmussen will also saddle Uno Mas and Soul Warrior (both at lower morning line odds) in the Risen Star.

How did the Heiligbrodts get the first-call jockey?

"Normally, we do," Corrine Heilibrodt said.  "We've had (Asmussen, the 2008 Eclipse Award-winning trainer) as a trainer since we first got in the game.  We've become very close and we've also been partners on several breeding ventures together.  My husband and I are very competitive, and Steve is very competitive, too.

"We like to race where our horses fit, and we love racing at Fair Grounds and racing in Louisiana," Heiligbrodt said.  "We know most of the people at Fair Grounds on a first-name basis and we think Fair Grounds runs a fabulous operation.  Also, the additional purses this year have made it all worthwhile."

Heiligbrodt Racing Stable will also be represented by the 3-year-old maiden Hull in the 11th race on Saturday's expanded program as they continue their quest for leading Fair Grounds owner honors this season.


Jockey Miguel Mena Rides Thursday Triple

The closest leading jockey race in recent history at Fair Grounds continues to unfold with 2007-08 leading rider Jamie Theriot and James Graham leading the pack, and six-time leading rider Robby Albarado and Brian Hernandez Jr. close behind while vying for the third spot.

However the riding star of Thursday's program was Miguel Mena, who won the second race aboard John Gunther's Cry Cry Cry for trainer Wally Dollase, the seventh on Carl Moore Management's King of Speed for conditioner Bret Calhoun, and the ninth astride Live Oak Plantation's True Vindication for trainer Malcolm Pierce.

Entering Friday's program, Theriot had 48 wins, two more than Graham, with Albarado and Hernandez tied for third with 42 wins each and John Jacinto fifth with 39 victories.