After Dominating the Classic & Distaff Preps, Who Took the Money and A G’s Charlotte Have Louisiana Champions Day Encore on Their Mind
$750,000 in purses across eight stakes attracts Louisiana’s best Thoroughbreds and horsemen
New Orleans, La (December 8, 2022) – The standouts from Louisiana Championships Preview Weekend return to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday, Dec 10. They’ll face some familiar foes and some fresh runners as horsemen from across “The Boot” ship in, while stabled barns step out, on Louisiana Champions Day. For the past 31 years this card has brought together the stories and aspirations of Louisiana-bred participants. Big barns versus small, Delta Downs’ form versus Fair Grounds’ finest. Runners with graded stakes aspirations versus those who’ve never cared to look past the horizon of the state line. The intrastate storylines will line up in the gates of one of the eight stakes, all racing for a share of the $750,000 combined purse total. With 79 runners entered out of 133 nominations, post time for race 1 on the nine-race card is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. CT.
On Nov 19, Who Took the Money reasserted his dominance in the Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes, the prep for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, notching the umpteenth stakes victory for trainer Bret Calhoun. The day prior in the Big World, the prep for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff, A G’s Charlotte’s splendid run earned her trainer Patricia West her first stakes score. Statewide differences there will always be, but Calhoun’s Classic entry and West’s Distaff filly both have a reputation for doing things their way, a similarity that rings true to all Louisianans.
“A G’s Charlotte has a mind of her own,” Patricia West said. “She has that her way or the highway kind of attitude. At Louisiana Downs she ran up the heels of other horses when the rider wasn’t getting her to their outside. That cost us because if she does that a time or two, then she’ll be like I gave you what I had and you keep stopping so I’m not going any more. ”
Inked as the second-favorite in the 1 1/16 miles Distaff at 3-1 in the morning line, Thomas Galvin’s 3-year-old A G’s Charlotte will look to stay a head in front of the Big World place-finisher, Allied Racing’s 8-5 morning line favorite, Winning Romance. Finishing a head in front at the wire will come down to the mind she brings to the race. Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. gets the command performance after he piloted to the Mo Tom filly’s liking in the Big World. Scheduled as race seven, post time for the Distaff is 4:27 p.m. CT.
Made the overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the morning line for the Classic, Allied Racing’s homebred Who Took the Money has five stakes wins to his name, including on this day in 2021 when he first put his electric turn of foot on display winning the $100,000 Turf.
“Who Took the Money has got a mind of his own and he decides when he wants to go,” Calhoun said. “Deshawn (Parker) says he’ll ask him for something and he won’t give him anything. Then he’ll sit a little while longer and finally he’ll ask him again, and maybe only then will he give him the answer. Who Took the Money does his own thing and waits until he thinks it’s time.”
On an all-stakes, three-race win streak, the son of Street Boss has put ten lengths between him and his foes. Those races were between seven furlongs and 1 mile 70 yards. The Classic is run at 1 1/8 miles, which should suit his running style even better. Slated as race eight with a post time of 4:59 p.m. CT, how soon after that Who Took the Money will make his bid is entirely up to him.
Stakes advances are below in the order they will be run on the card.
GEORGE ALLAN BRYANT LOOKS FOR FIRST LA STAKES TO CAP OFF THE YEAR HE BEAT CANCER: ANGELA CELERITY IN THE LADIES STARTER — Thompson Racing’s 3-year-old filly Angela’s Celerity will take on six older females going six furlongs in the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter for state-breds who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2021-2022. The recent addition to George Allan Bryant’s barn makes her third step up in class since he claimed her for $7,500 on Oct 12.
“I added blinkers last out,” Bryant said. “She missed the break and made a mad dash late and galloped out in front of a really tough bunch of open fillies. Delta’s stretch isn’t very long and she made up ground. I believe she is a sprinter and I think the Fair Grounds stretch will suit her.”
Less than a year into his career as a trainer, this will be Bryant’s first runner at Fair Grounds. Last year at this time, Bryant was in the throes of his battle against Stage 4 oral cancer, which he beat, ringing the bell on Jan 28, 2022.
“My dad (George R. Bryant) was a trainer and I always loved going to the barn with him and working with him,” Bryant said. “He retired right before my cancer and after my cancer I realized that if I were to die and never train on my own, I would really regret it. So I went all in, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love this sport and the horses.”
Bryant brought his barn in from Texas and sent out his first runner in Louisiana this past August at Louisiana Downs. After winning one in Bossier City, he moved down to Vinton. He’s sent out 18 runners at Delta Downs and racked up three wins and one third through Dec 6. Having faced stakes-level company twice before in Texas, Saturday will be Bryant’s first entry at this level in Louisiana. Adam Beschizza will ride the 15-1 morning line longshot Angela Celerity from post No. 6.
Puzzling Priority finished third in the common allowance race with Angela’s Celerity Nov. 19 at Delta. The 4-time winning 4-year-old has flashed some speed, but she seems to run best with a target. Her trainer Lee Thomas has had early success this meet at Fair Grounds, winning three races from nine starters through Dec 7. Tabbed at 9-2 by Mike Diliberto, Portilla drew post 7 and will be guided by Pedro Cotto, Jr.
Only a head separated Ourperfectprincess, Zydeco Music, and Galaxy Thirtysix as they filled out the trifecta in Fair Grounds’ opening day finale. Gina Ney’s Galaxy’s Thirtysix got the win flying late but the other two did all the dirty work on the front end, dueling from go-to-woah.
Scheduled as race 1 with a 1:15 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Rockett Magic (Colby Hernandez, Edward Romero, 20-1 ), Ourperfectprincess (Jose Riquelme, Kenneth Hargrave, 3-1 ), Galaxy Thirtysix (Rey Gutierrez Rey, John Ney, 2-1), See Sassy Run (Devin Magnon, Ricky Courville, 12-1), Zydeco Music (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Shane Wilson, 9-5), Angela’s Celerity (Adam Beschizza, George Allan Bryant, 15-1 ), and Puzzling Priority (Pedro Cotto Jr., Lee Thomas, 10-1).
NOT ON HERB LOOKS TO DEFEND HIS COURT IN THE JUVENILE AGAINST TWO BRED BY COTEAU GROVE — Of the seven colts entered in the 6-furlong $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, two are bred by Couteau Grove: Tumbarumba and Late September. Both are serious contenders, but as the winner of the Peluso Stakes, it’s Not On Herb’s court until another 2-year-old proves otherwise.
Ivery Sisters Racing’s Not On Herb proved yet again that the best offense is a good defense. Striking the front in the Peluso, the First Samurai juvenile fended off a late bid from Late September by not holding back at the top of the stretch and keeping the field at bay. In the final strides, Calicoco rallied late to beat out Late September for second. The two-for-two speedster out of Ron Faucheux’s barn, Not On Herb – a reference to Pelicans’ forward Herb Jones – breaks between the two Coteau Grove-bred runners in post No. 6. Jockey Jareth Loveberry will likely look to execute a similar game plan but the 7-2 morning line signals bettors might get a juicier price.
“He was out on the track on Friday (Dec 2) and moving well,” Faucheux said. “He impressed us in the Peluso, and we’re excited to see what this guy can do in the (Juvenile).”
Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds can run but they can’t hide from Tumbarumba. In his gate-to-wire maiden-breaker last month at Churchill Downs, Amerman Racing’s son of Oscar Performance earned a 91 Brisnet Speed figure, more than 10 points higher than any other last-out effort in the field. Florent Geroux took trainer Brian Lynch’s call and will ride the 5-2 favorite from post No. 5.
Coteau Grove Farms bred another main threat in the Juvenile, Kevin Stedman’s Late September. The son of Munnings broke his maiden against restricted company going 4 1/2 furlongs last May at Churchill. After that, he flew to England to run in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot, where he finished last. Returning to Louisiana, he won the seven furlong Legacy at Delta Downs in October and then ran a hard-trying third over a sloppy track in the Peluso opening weekend at Fair Grounds. Already with nine wins under his belt, newcomer Jose Luis Rodriguez will stay aboard, breaking from post No. 7.
Tye E. Smith’s Calicoco showed some serious late kick in the Peluso slop and could be dangerous with a move forward in his third race. Trainer Shane Wilson keeps the reins in the hands of Alex Castillo, and both have been hot through the opening weeks of the meet, each with seven total wins (as of Sunday), only one coming as a combo.
Scheduled as race 3 with a post time of 2:15 p.m. CT, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Juvenile Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Ranch Water (Timothy Thornton Timothy, Allen Landry, 15-1), Calicoco (Alexander Castillo, Shane Wilson, 6-1), Half Full (Colby Hernandez, Eduardo Ramirez, 9-2), The Boss Soss (Joe Stokes Joe, Allen Landry, 6-1), Tumbarumba (Florent Geroux, Brian Lynch, 5-2), Not On Herb (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 7-2), and Late September (Jose Luis Rodriguez Jose Camejo, 4-1).
CALHOUN AND WEST CLASH IN THE LASSIE AS FREE DROP MADDY AND NORAH G LOOK TO REPLICATE THEIR BIG OPENING DAY RUNS — Take your pick from opening day. Both Free Drop Maddy and Norah G looked sensational winning their respective races, and both of their trainers report they are entering the six furlong $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie ready to take on each other and the rest of the eight fillies.
After a dull outing at Delta Downs in the Jewel Stakes, Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy took a tremendous step forward winning the $75,000 Ferguson, her second stakes victory, with July’s Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity being her first. Fair Grounds leading trainer (as of Sunday) Bret Calhoun, who won this race in 2009 with Speedacious, teams up with jockey Rey Gutierrez.
“I was very impressed with her last race,” Calhoun said. “She’s coming into this race every bit as good. I don’t think the extra (1/2 furlong) distance is an issue for her at all. In fact in some of her races she might have done better going longer.”
The daughter of Free Drop Billy drew Post No. 4 and earned morning line favoritism at 8-5.
One of two wins on opening day for owner Tom Galvin and trainer Patricia West, Nora G’s 9.5-1 debut stunner had all the hallmarks of what most connections hope to see from their juvenile. She overcame a slow beak and a wide trip, showed her mind was on running when positioning towards the front, and finished strong through the wire, winning by 3 1/4 lengths.
“I think she wants to go two turns,” West said. “She kind of ran like a sprinter the other day but that was just her first time. I feel good about her going into the race. She’s super smart. She’ll overcome things. Nothing bothers her. That is a lot especially with fillies because they get themselves beat with their brains. She’s the coolest cucumber in the barn, so I feel really good about her.”
This Fast Anna filly earned an 85 Brisnet Speed figure last out, and any improvement on that will keep Free Drop Maddy’s hooves full from gate-to-wire as they both have shown forward positioning. Deshawn Parker retains the mount and will guide Norah G from post No. 2.
Scheduled as Race 4 with a 2:45 p.m. post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Tensas Candy (Alexander Castillo, Jorge Lara, 7-2), Norah G (Deshawn Parker, Patricia West, 3-1), Louisiana Liberty (Mitchell Murrill, Steven Flint, 8-1), Free Drop Maddy (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 8-5), Don’tcallmepatsy (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Shane Wilson, 10-1), Louisiana Cowgirl (Emmanuel Nieves, David Gomez, 20-1), Starship Jambalaya (Adam Beschizza, Scott Gelner, 12-1), Addi Bug (Jack Gilligan, David Gomez, 12-1).
OVA CHARGED STRUTS INTO LADIES SPRINT, BUT FREE LIKE A GIRL READY AND WAITING — Brittlyn Stable’s Happy Ticket Stakes winner Ova Charged headlines a field of six older fillies and mares entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Ladies Sprint, going six furlongs on the dirt track.
Trained by Jose Camejo, the 6-5 morning line favorite has dominated the division, going 4-for-4 in Louisiana. She took this last year following a thrilling battle with the Prioress (G2) winner Cilla. Graded stakes-placed herself at Belmont in the Victory (G3), Ova Charged has the talent to take on open company, and after her walk-in-the-park win in the Happy Ticket over Louisiana Champions Preview Weekend, her connections let it be known after that race they hope to bring their 4-year-old by Star Guitar to the national stage in 2023. Drawing post No. 5, just inside of her stablemate Spirited Beauty, Ova Charged will get the services of newcomer Jose Luis Rodriguez, who has won four for Camejo out of 12 starts.
Think this race will be handed to Ova Charged on a silver platter? Think again. With multiple graded stakes placings notched in her belt, Gerald Bruno Jr., Carl Deville, Chasey Pomier, and Jerry Caroom’s Free Like A Girl is the kind of force the lightly-raced Ova Charged has not had to face since Cilla. Owner/trainer Chasey Pomier has entered the 3-year-old filly by El Deal against the likes of Society in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) and Juju’s Map in the Remington Park Oaks (G3). She was stunned by the 93-1 shot Buckley Bunny in the Lassie on this day last year, but returned to Fair Grounds three weeks later to win the Louisiana Futurity. A versatile filly, she’s dangerous on the lead around two turns and from off the pace down the stretch in sprints, she ran a dull fifth over a muddy track last out at Delta Downs in the Treasure Chest. Legging up for the 17th time, Pedro Cotto Jr. has the rail draw.
Scheduled as race 5 with a 3:23 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Free Like a Girl (Pedro Cotto Jr., Chasey Pomier, 7-5), Snowball (Colby Hernandez, Samuel Breaux, 8-1), Wupkar (Brian Hernandez Jr., Bret Calhoun, 8-1), Half Koo Koo (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Sam David Jr., 20-1), Ova Charged (Jose Luis Rodriguez Jose Camejo, 6-5), and Spirited Beauty (David Cohen, Jose Camejo, 6-1).
A WIDE-OPEN INAUGURAL RUNNING OF THE STARTER IS POSITIONED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NEW 15% TAKEOUT PICK 6 AND LATE PICK 5 — The form, the class level, the speed figures – there’s little difference between the ten older males who entered the 5 1/2 furlong $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter.
Of the ten evenly-matched runners, Mike Diliberto hung 4-1 morning line odds on the favorite Alterana upwards of 20-1 on last-out winner Inthealy, foreshadowing that the first edition of this race will be a strong betting event.
Winalot Racing’s two entries, Secret Vista and Mr. Production, both could wreak havoc and offer betting value.
Leading trainer around these parts for two years straight, Ron Faucheux sends out Mr. Production, who dueled in the slop against optional claimers on opening weekend. The seven-time winner showed once again how dangerous he is with the lead. Beat to the wire by fellow Starter foe Cryptozonic in the final strides that day, Mr. Production faced pressure the entire way, and he fought back gamely when headed late. Inked at 9-2, the 6-year-old horse will break from post No. 5 under Jareth Loveberry.
Secret Vista ran on this day last year, but in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic. In his next start, trainer Justin Jeansonne claimed him for $12,000 then moved him up in class where he won a $15,000 claiming race, earning a new top speed figure in the process.
“We claimed him and shortened him up and he looked good,” Jeansonne said. “We ran him twice last year at Fair Grounds and then being a 5-year-old, we decided to keep him on the bench and target this meet. He’s doing good coming into this and he should be sharp.”
Breaking from the far outside in post No. 10, Adam Beschizza will reunite with 12-1 Secret Vista after riding him in both his starts out of Jeansonne’s barn last meet.
Scheduled as Race 6 with a 3:45 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Jeb’s Lucky Eight (James Graham, Frank Pennino, 10-1), Cryptozonic (Alexander Castillo, Joseph Foster, 5-1), Alterana (Gerard Melancon, Keith Charles, 4-1), Inthealy (Erika Murray, Whitney Zeringue, Jr., 20-1), Mr. Production (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 9-2), Golden Palace (Emanuel Nieves, Cesar Govea, 6-1 ), Reckless Ransom (Mitchell Murrill, Joseph Foster, 6-1) Dixie Street (Tracy Hebert, Sean Alfortish, 6-1), Zelig (Deshawn Parker, Gary Johnson, 8-1), and Secret Vista (Adam Beschizza, Justin Jeansonne, 12-1).
A G’S CHARLOTTE ENTERS THE DISTAFF LOOKING TO BACK UP BIG WORLD PERFORMANCE – Five runners from the Big World will look for revenge on Thomas Galvin’s A G’s Charlotte in the 1 1/16 miles $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff. The 3-year-old Mo Tom filly surprised many by coming from ten lengths back with a late run to nail Winning Romance by 3/4 length. At 9.90-1 she earned not only her first stakes victory, but the first for trainer Patricia West.
“She’s doing great, hasn’t missed a lick,” West said. “She’s exactly the same going into this race as she was heading into the Big World. She’s the most consistent filly. She doesn’t disappoint.”
Deemed the 3-1 second-favorite in the morning line, A G’s Charlotte will begin from post No. 6 carrying jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr.
After firing a big effort when leading the charge behind run-off leader Cheapskate Diva in the Big World, a second-place finish left Allied Racing’s Winning Romance’s connections scratching their heads.
“I really haven’t been able to figure out how we got beat,” her trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We might have had to move a little bit early with the horse on the lead being loose. Honestly I thought she would win that day and was disappointed she didn’t win. Hopefully she’ll bounce back and get the job done. She went into that race fantastic and she’s coming into his race doing fantastic.”
Deshawn Parker retains the mount on the 8-5 favorite in the Distaff and will look to break sharply from post No. 3. The 2022 Lanerie Stakes winner finished second to Fort Polk in this race last year.
Steve and Pat Roe’s Fort Polk finished third in the Big World and has not won at the stakes-level or on the dirt since winning the 2021 Distaff. The 6-year-old Behindatthebar mare is seeking her tenth win as her trainer Pat Mouton eyes his first win of the Fair Grounds meet. Made 4-1 in the morning line, Emmanuel Nieves will stay aboard to break from post No. 8.
Scheduled as race 7 with a 4:27 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Lutie Mo (Joe Stokes, Allen Landry, 20-1), Eve’s Delight (Alexander Castillo, Garland Goins, 12-1), Winning Romance (Deshawn Parker, Bret Calhoun, 8-5), Cheapskate Diva (James Graham, Joseph Felks, 6-1), She’s Gone d’Wild (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 10-1), A G’s Charlotte (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Patricia West, 3-1), Wholelottamo (Adam Beschizza, Jayde Gelner, 12-1), and Fort Polk (Emmanuel Nieves, Patrick Mouton, 4-1).
Bret Calhoun, trainer of She’s Gone d’Wild
“She’s been disappointing her last two outs honestly,” Calhoun said. “She’s always been a filly a cut below the top one or two in there, but I always thought if one of the favorites stubbed their toe, she would win and pick up the pieces. For some reason she has not fired in her last two and I can’t put my finger on it. Now, she’s doing very, very well, and I’m coming into this race again with some confidence, even the way she’s ran the last two. The way she’s trained coming into it gives me confidence.”
FIVE FROM THE SCOTTS SCOUNDREL ENTER THE $150,000 CLASSIC ALONG WITH THREE FRESH FACES — Eight older males were entered for Saturday’s 1 1/8 miles $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, including Allied Racing’s Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes winner Who Took the Money. Finishing with his signature late burst of interest, his to 2 1/4 lengths margin didn’t dissuade the runner-up and third place finisher, Behemah Star and Highland Creek, from taking another shot at the 4-5 morning line favorite. They’ll be going farther this time, but that might only play into the son of Street Boss’ hands.
“I love one mile and 1/8th for Who Took the Money,” Calhoun said. “Most of his recent races he’s broken, settled in back, and made that late run, finishing up very strongly. I think the distance will be a positive for him.”
Deshawn Parker has been aboard this free-thinker seven out of his last eight races, winning each but the Star Guitar Stakes last spring where he took damage from both sides out of the gate and his rally to the 1 1/16 miles finish line fell short. His stablemate Highland Creek finished ahead of him but it was Behemah Star’s shining moment, winning the race named for his sire. Who Took the Money’s longest journey in his 13-race career will begin from post No. 7.
Finishing second behind Grand Luweege in 2021’s edition of the Classic, Highland Creek enters this year with faster figures but fewer recent wins. Penned at 6-1 in the morning line, the other Allied Racing-owned Calhoun-trained runner prefers to press the front of the pack, and time and again has shown the tenacity to dig in when the finish line is in sight.
“I thought he ran too good to lose in the last race,” Calhoun said. “He ran extremely hard, did all the dirty work, and ended up getting nailed late. He doesn’t give me any reason to think he’s not going to bring that race right back. I think he can be on the pace or off it if need be. Last time we just happened to find ourselves up in positions and went along with it.”
Adam Beschizza will work from post No. 4 to figure out the proper tactics to return Highland Creek to the winner’s circle.
Cross-entered in the Sprint, Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar’s presence in the Classic could keep all these familiar runners on their toes. Over eight lengths better than the field when winning his last race on the lead going seven furlongs at Delta Downs, no other runner than Who Took the Money and Maga Man has posted a Brisnet Speed figure as high as the 97 he earned. This will by far be the toughest competition he’s faced. Trainer Jeff Delhomme brings Touchuponastar’s regular jockey Timothy Thornton in from Delta, and with his gate speed he’ll have first dibs on the rail breaking from post No. 3.
Other top horses entered into the Classic include Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star who has three wins on the local track and George Messina and Michael Lee’s Ballinonabudjet who will make his first start out of Brad Cox’s barn since being claimed for $20,000 out of a resounding open company score at Churchill on Nov. 18.
Scheduled as race 8 with a 4:59 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Maga Man (Joe Stokes, Norman Miller III, 20-1), Cosmic Train (James Graham, Jerry Delhomme, 20-1), Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 6-1), Highland Creek (Adam Beschizza, Bret Calhoun, 6-1), Behemah Star (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Jose Camejo, 9-2), Ballinonabudjet (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 8-1), Who Took the Money (Deshawn Parker, Bret Calhoun, 4-5), and Beauregard (Rey Gutierrez, David Gomez, 20-1).
AN OVERSUBSCRIBED FIELD OF 16 ENTERED FOR THE $100,000 SPRINT — Trained by Ron Faucheux, Bertie’s Galaxy ran a valiant second in last year’s edition of Louisiana Champions Day Sprint before getting worn down at the wire by stablemate Monte Man. A two-time Louisiana Legends Sprint winner at Evangeline Downs, the 6-year-old gelding finished sixth as the odds-on favorite in the prep named for his legendary stablemate Monty Man last month. Bertie’s Galazy will face many of the same foes on Saturday, including the neighbor in the gates who hindered his chance at winning.
In the Monte Man, Brian’s Iron Mike broke from the 1 hole and took a hard right, cutting off the speedster Bertie’s Galaxy who broke from post No. 2, putting him seven lengths behind the field. At 7-2 in the morning line, the lukewarm favorite Bertie’s Galaxy drew post No. 12 and will be ridden by Jareth Loveberry.
“He worked (Saturday Dec 3) and looked great,” Faucheux said. “He came out of the Monte Man doing well. They got the jump on him and he couldn’t get in a good spot. He’ll be ready to roll in the Sprint.”
Immediately to his inside is the Monte Man Stakes-winner Brian’s Iron Mike in post No. 11. After piloting Hat Racing’s 3-year-old by Iron Fist to his first stakes title, Joe Stokes retains the mount and if he retains the strategy, the break will be everything. Mike Diliberto pegs him as the 5-1 second favorite. One of two with those honors and odds.
Cross-entered in the Classic, Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar’s presence in the Sprint could shake things up. The owner of the field’s highest speed figure has won his last two races by over 15 lengths, but in an abbreviated 3-year-old season, the son of Star Guitar has yet to win a stake. Trainer Jeff Delhomme brings Touchuponastar’s regular jockey Timothy Thornton in from Delta and he’ll aim to overcome post No. 14.
Scheduled as race 9 with a 5:45 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Jax Man (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Sam David Jr., 15-1) Schnell (Deshawn Parker, Shane Wilson, 20-1) Big Chopper (Corey Lanerie, Scott Gelner, 10-1), Janets Jay Jay (Jamie Theriot, Howard Alonzo, 20-1), Mike J (Pedro Cotto Jr., Lee Thomas, 50-1) Win Ya Win (Adam Beschizza, Jose Camejo, 10-1), Takes Two to Tango (Rey Gutierrez, Luis Garcia, 8-1), Yankee Seven (Emmanuel Nieves, Cesar Govea, 20-1), Unified Report (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dallas Stewart, 12-1), Creole Charlie (James Graham, Howard Alonzo, 10-1), Brian’s Iron Mike (Joe Stokes, Allen Landry, 5-1), Bertie’s Galaxy (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 7-2), Relentless Dancer (Gerard Melancon, Keith Bourgeois, 10-1), Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 5-1), AE Scarlettsblackjack (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Sarah Delany, 6-1), and AE Feisty Fist (Mitchell Murrill, Steven Flint, 12-1).
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