Contention Runs Deep in Wide Open Star Guitar
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Contention Runs Deep in Wide Open Star Guitar
Bargain Claim Maga Man Enters in Career Form
New Orleans (March 25, 2021) – Louisiana breds take center stage in the final two stakes of the meet, as the $75,000 Star Guitar highlights an 11-race Saturday card that also includes the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial. The Star Guitar is named in honor of the richest Louisiana-bred ever, a Brittlyn Stable homebred who earned $1.749 million in a distinguished 30-24-0-2 career that included 22 stakes wins for trainer Al Stall Jr. This year’s renewal drew a deep field of 10 lined up to 1 1/16 miles, with bargain claim Maga Man entering off career-best form.
Whispering Oaks Farm’s Maga Man (post 4 at 6-1 on Mike Diliberto’s morning line with Colby Hernandez to ride) has been a revelation of sorts since trainer Steve Flint claimed him for $12,500 three-back. The 6-year-old son of Musket Man had been a solid allowance and fringe stakes performer for his previous connections but was entered for $12,500 in a state-bred claimer here in January and easily won. Be it fate, luck, or a little of both, Flint eagerly put a claim in on a horse he was surprisingly familiar with.
“Believe it or not, it was all a chance coincidence,” Flint said. “I was running at Delta Downs, which I very rarely do, and this horse happened to be stalled right next to me at the receiving barn. He just had that look about him that he needed a little TLC and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Maga Man has improved significantly in two starts for Flint, as he won a state-bred optional-claimer here February 6 and was a close third on the turf in the local Dixie Poker Ace 21 days later. He’s now 5-for-22 lifetime, and while there are plenty of contenders in the Star Guitar, Flint enters with plenty of confidence.
“He’s in great form and I wouldn’t trade places with anybody, not to say there aren’t some other really good horses in the race,” Flint said. “I just think he’s coming into the race probably in the best shape he’s been in since I had him. We’ve had more time with him, he’s put on more weight, which he needs to be a better horse. If he can duplicate the first effort, we had with him on the dirt, I think he’s going to be tough.”
Mallory Richard’s Underpressure (post 8 at 5-2 with James Graham) enters off a win in the February 10 Premier Championship for state breds at Delta for trainer Chris Richard. The 7-year-old son of Birdstone is 14-for-40 with earnings of $838,182 in a distinguished career that shows multiple stakes wins. Underpressure was second, beaten just a nose, by fellow rival Pound for Pound in a local optional-claimer in January and is clearly the one to fear in the lane.
Pine Knoll Farm’s Jus Lively (post 7 at 7-2 with Adam Beschizza) is 4-for-8 over the local main track for trainer Steve Asmussen but enters off a win in the Dixie Poker Ace. The 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado has won half of his 12 lifetime starts and was just a nose behind Magna Man in his win here in February.
Israel Flores Horses’ Pound for Pound (post at 7-2 with Aubrie Green) figures to be in front early, as he wired Underpressure in January. The 6-year-old son of Redding Colliery was fifth to that rival in the Premier Championship at Delta and is 7-for-24 lifetime for trainer Andrea Ali.
Brittlyn Stable’s will start a pair of homebreds by Star Guitar in the hopes of winning a race near and dear, with Guitar Tribute (post 1 at 20-1 with Santos Sanjur) and Guitar Slim (post 3 at 20-1 with Declan Carroll) rating longshot looks for trainer Jose Camejo.
Completing the Star Guitar field from the rail out: Pendleton Larsen Jr.’s The Mo U No (post 2 at 20-1 with Jose Riquelme), who was second by a neck to Guitar Tribute on the turf last time for trainer Courtney Dandridge; Alston Thoroughbreds, Earl and Keith Hernandez, and John Duvieilh’s Jax Man (post 6 at 15-1 with Marcelino Pedroza), a well-beaten third behind Maga Man in the February 6 optional-claimer for trainer Sam David; Jana Wagner and Paradise Farm Corp’s Relentless Dancer (post 9 at 8-1 with Gabriel Saez), a three-time stakes winner on dirt who was eighth in the Dixie Poker Ace for trainer Mike Maker; and Snake Racing’s Trey Midnite Moon (post 10 at 8-1 with Shaun Bridgmohan), who wheels back off a win over starter-optional-claimers here March 18 for trainer Bunky Richards.
Landry Has Both Bases Covered in Lanerie Memorial
Saints N Muskets and Net a Bear Hit Hard with Different Styles
New Orleans (March 25, 2021) – The $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial seems to have a lack of early speed, which would flatter a front-runner. Should things get unexpectedly heated up front, a closer comes into the equation. Trainer Allen Landry has both ends covered in the 1-mile and 70-yards stakes, as he starts pace player Saints N Muskets and stretch runner Net a Bear in the final state-bred stakes at the meet for fillies and mares.
The Shantel Lanerie is named for the late wife of longtime jockey Corey Lanerie, who passed away in June of 2018 due to complications from breast cancer. Information on her foundation can be found here https://shantellaneriefoundation.com.
Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro’s Net a Bear (post 7 as the 5-2 favorite on Mike Diliberto’s morning line with James Graham to ride) is the more accomplished and fancied of Landry’s uncoupled entry. The 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Bet has been a state-bred star the past three years and was voted champion 3-year-old filly in 2019 off stakes wins on the turf in the Elge Raspberry at Louisiana Downs and the local Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf. Still, Net a Bear, who is 5-for-22 lifetime, has proven plenty capable on the main track as well, as evidenced by a 9 ½-length win in an off-the-turf state-bred optional-claimer her in January. She heads back to the dirt after a closing second in the local March 6 Red Camelia on the turf, and Landry is expecting another big effort.
“She’s very versatile, she can go both ways and is proven on both surfaces,” Landry said. “I think she’s a little better on the grass but, needless to say, the last time we ran here on the dirt she won by over 9. We’re going to let her run her race. James knows her a little better now and he won’t let her get that far out of it. She had a real good shot last time to win but we were a little too far off the pace, but she did come rolling.”
Rodney Verret’s Saints N Muskets (post 2 at 7-2 with Mitchell Murrill) will get the jump on her stablemate, as she’s shown a penchant for running on or just off the lead and catches a field with little early speed. The 6-year-old daughter of Musket Man has come into her own in her last four dirt starts, as she won the Lookout in November at Delta Downs and the Magnolia there in January, before running a game second after pressing the pace in the Premier Distaff there in February. Saints N Muskets is 5-for-18 lifetime and enters the Lanerie off a toss-out seventh in her turf debut in the Red Camelia.
“She didn’t seem to like it at all,” Landry said. “She should be fairly live since there doesn’t look to be a whole lot of speed in the race. I think she’s going to set the pace in there. She bounced back pretty nicely and we’re looking forward to it.”
Whispering Oaks Farm’s homebred Quikfast N Ahurry (post 4 at 3-1 with Colby Hernandez) will appreciate getting back to the dirt after running eighth in the Red Camelia for trainer Steve Flint. The 4-year-old daughter of Closing Argument reeled in Saints N Muskets in the Premier Distaff and has also shown an affinity for the Fair Grounds main track, as she’s 3-2-1-0 here, which includes a win sprinting in an open optional-claimer in January. Quikfast N Ahurry is 5-for-12 lifetime, with her lone local loss coming when second in the Crescent City Oaks in March 2020.
Tin Roof Farms’ Snowball (post 1 at 7-2 with Shaun Bridgmohan) is another who has proven equally adept on both turf and dirt for trainer Sam Breaux. The 5-year-old daughter of Apriority was a fast-closing third in the Premier Distaff two-back and tuned up for the Lanerie when she closed from last-of-8 to be third in a local March 5 state-bred optional-claimer behind multiple states winner Mr. Al’s Gal. Snowball is 5-for-26 lifetime, which includes a win in the Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle at Evangeline Downs in July 2020.
Completing the Shantel Lanerie Memorial field from the rail out: Northpointe Thoroughbreds’ Sebs Princess (post 3 at 15-1 with Marcelino Pedroza), seventh and fourth, respectively, in the Premier Distaff and Magnolia for trainer Steven Duke; Brittlyn Stable’s homebred Crescentcitypretty (post 5 at 12-1 with Miguel Mena), a stakes winner earlier in her career who returned from a 14-month layoff when fifth in a turf sprint here March 5 for trainer Jose Camejo; and William Reed’s homebred She’s Gone d’Wild (post 6 at 8-1 with Gabriel Saez), fifth in the Premier Distaff two-back for trainer Bret Calhoun.
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 is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
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