Calhoun Holds the Cards – Jack Hammer and Free Drop Maddy Headline the Half Ours and Buttercup’s Song Stakes

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3-year-old males and fillies travel two turns in the inaugural running of two state-bred stakes

New Orleans, La (Feb. 24, 2023) – New to the stakes program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots are the $75,000 Louisiana Stallion of the Year Half Ours Stakes at 1 mile 70 yards and the $75,000 Louisiana Broodmare of the Year Buttercup’s Song Stakes at one mile – both written for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds and named for two of the great producing influences in Louisiana’s breeding history. Scheduled to be contested on Saturday, February 25, post time for the 9-race card is 1:15 p.m (all times central standard). Written for fillies, the Buttercup’s Song is slated as Race 6 with a 3:15 p.m. post time. For males, the Half Hours will go as Race 7 at 4:15 p.m.

Half Ours sired 22 stakes winners, but his reign came to an untimely end after a freak paddock accident in July of 2021. With twelve foals and nine starters, the earnings of Buttercup’s Song’s foals totaled $1,721,518, highlighted by Pound for Pound and the graded-stakes winner Flatlined. 

Five new faces will look to end Jack Hammer’s perfect beginning to his racing career. The Allied Racing Stable homebred broke his maiden in November, won the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity in December, and at the beginning of the month, the gelded son of Jimmy Creed took home the Premier Prince at Delta Downs, his first attempt stretching out to two turns. Jack Hammer is a half-sibling to the three-times stakes winning mare, Winning Romance. 

“That Jack Hammer, he’s turned out to be a pretty nice horse for us,” Calhoun said. “He’s still learning. He’s got talent. He’s three for three and still hasn’t figured things out mentally, so we’re optimistic about the future with him.”

Of the eight entered, the Calhoun trainee has beaten both Whispering Oak Farms’ Gobot and Joey Foster Racing’s Stiff Drink, but one of Jack Hammer’s main threats is a newcomer to the stakes ranks, Roger Smith’s Allnight Moonlight. After two runner-up finishes sprinting, trainer Ron Faucheux stretched Allnight Moonlight out to one mile, though unsuccessfully. Faucheux added blinkers after that race, and the Ransom the Moon colt broke from the rail to the lead and never looked back, pulling away to win by over eight lengths. Allnight Moonlight draws the rail again and Jareth Loveberry stays aboard.

“I know my horse likes this track and should like the added distance from his last race,” Faucheux said. “He might end up being a turf runner in terms of pedigree, but if he can make a forward move from the last race it would put him right there. The breeze coming into this, Jareth (Loveberry) worked him in 48 and 4, he did it so easy I thought he went in 52(seconds).”

Here is the complete field for the Half Ours Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line): 1. Allnight Moonlight (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 9-2); 2. Benoit (Brian Hernandez Jr., Greg Tracy, 7-2); 3. Stiff Drink (Alex Castillo, Joey Foster, 15-1); 4. Real Action (Corey Lanerie, Lonnie Briley, 8-1); 5. Mangum (Colby Hernandez, Jeff Delhomme, 9-2); 6. Gobot (Mitchell Murrill, Steve Flint, 15-1); 7. Jack Hammer (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 7-5); 8. My Lil Dude (Emanuel Nieves, Brett Brinkman, 20-1).

With a field of 8 fillies signed on, Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy will look to get back to her winning ways after failing as the favorite in the Premier Starlet at Delta Downs. She finished a well-beaten fifth that night and has finished no better than third in all three attempts around two turns. With three stakes victories to her name, the daughter of Free Drop Billy is two-for-two sprinting at Fair Grounds, winning both the $75,000 Ferguson Memorial and the $100,000 Louisiana Lassie as a two-year-old.  Drawing post No. 5, jockey Rey Gutierrez keeps the reins.

Exiting the same stake as Free Drop Maddy, Tom Galvin’s homebred Olivia G. Finishing second in her first attempt at two-turns, the half-sibling to stakes-winner A G’s Charlotte has finished second in all four of her races. Trained by Patricia West, Olivia G will retain the services of Deshawn Parker and break from post No. 7.

Among Free Drop Maddy’s competition in the Buttercup’s Song are the top three finishers from the Jan. 13 allowance race at Fair Grounds – Robert Joseph and Dana Salome’s Guitar Woman, Danny Bockmon and Joey Foster Racing’s She Told You So, and Kevin Fontenot’s Agami.

Here is the complete field for the Buttercup’s Song Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line): 1. She Told You So (Alex Castillo, Joey Foster, 10-1); 2. New Destiny (Corey Lanerie, Jayde Gelner, 9-2); 3. Guitar Woman (Emanuel Nieves, Joe Duhon, 7-2); 4. Hopeitsmyluckyday (Aubrie Green, James Hodges, 15-1); 5. Free Drop Maddy (Rey Gutierrez, Brett Calhoun, 3-1); 6. Agami (Edgar Morales, Shane Wilson, 10-1); 7. Olivia G (Deshawn Parker, Patricia West, 7-2); 8. For Harper (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Sturges Ducoing, 6-1).


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at

Jack Hammer and Free Drop Maddy at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots