Little Separates Top Turf Contenders in the $100,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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New Orleans, La (December 22, 2022) –  Lothenbach Stables’ Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) winner Captivating Moon gets the morning-line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto’s blessing as the favorite in an overdrawn field of eleven older males in the 17th running of the $100,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. There’s little drop off from the top as the race named after the beloved New Orleans sportscaster has five foes tabbed between 3-1 and 4-1; eight between 3-1 and 6-1. 

Turf racing returns for the “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” card. With the portable rail set at 34 feet, starters will be limited to eight runners for the Buddy Diliberto Memorial and the female counterpart, the 1 1/16 miles $100,000 Blushing K.D. (Race 6). With the same parameters, racing will return to the turf on Dec. 31 for the runnings of the $100,000 Pago Hop and the $100,000 Woodchopper. If all goes well, as is expected, Fair Grounds will continue to run limited turf races starting January 5.

With a first post of noon CT for a 13-race card, “The Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” card features the $100,000 Gun Runner Stakes (Race 11) and $100,000 Untapable (Race 12). Both races offer the last chance for Kentucky Derby and Oaks dreamers to earn qualifying points (10-4-3-2-1) as 2-year-olds.  

Trained by Chris Block, Captivating Moon has only won once in the past two years, coming from last to first over a yielding course in the 2021 Fair Grounds (G3) at boxcar odds of 43-1. The 7-year-old by Malibu Moon won the 2019 edition of the Buddy D over a sloppy main track. Jareth Loveberry takes the reins and will be breaking from post No. 5. 

Chief among his competitors in the Buddy D is the 3-time graded stakes winner Spooky Channel, owned by NBS Stable. Not seen since October of 2021 when he won the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland, the English Channel 7-year-old trained by Jason Barkley suffered a setback last December when training for this race and had to scratch. 

“Spooky is coming off the layoff,” Barkley said. “We’ve had him ready for a month and have just been waiting for the turf course to open up. He gallops strong and he’s passing the eye test in the mornings. I think he is the best horse in the race. He wants to go a little further (than 1 1/16 miles), but it’s a great starting spot.”

Tabbed at 4-1 in the morning line, Spooky Channel gets the services of James Graham and will begin his return to the races from post No. 6.

Stablemate Bizzee Channel is making his second start for the Barkley barn since being transferred from Lacy Gaudet by owner Baron Racing Stables.

“Bizzee is doing really well,” Barkley said. “We took the blinkers off for this race, and I like that move for him because he can get too aggressive and then not finish. Hopefully he’ll relax off the lead, in there. If he’s on the lead, that’s fine, but he runs best just off the leaders.”

Adam Beschizza will ride the graded stakes winner for the first time, breaking from post No.4

Other top horses entered into the Buddy D Stakes include Jerry Romans Jr. and Hamilton Smith’s English Tavern who is three-for-five at the distance and Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Spanish Kingdom who finished second in the $394,000 Tapit Stakes at Kentucky Downs last September.

Here is the complete field for the Fern Creek from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): 1. Temper Tantrum (Mitchell Murril, Armando Hernandez, 8-1); 2. Risk Manager (Corey Lanerie, Sarah Davidson, 10-1); 3. Big Agenda (Luis Saez, Joe Sharp, 12-1); 4. Bizzee Channel (Adam Beschizza, Jason Barkley, 6-1); 5. Captivating Moon (Jareth Loveberry, Chris Block, 3-1); 6. Spooky Channel (James Graham, Jason Barkley, 4-1); 7. English Tavern (Deshawn Parker, Michelle Lovell, 7-2); 8. Spanish Kingdom (Brian Hernandez Jr., Joe Sharp, 5-1); AE 9. Gentle Soul (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 6-1); AE 10. Runnin’ Ray (Martin Garcia, Joe Sharp, 7-2); AE 11. Happy American (James Graham, Neil Pessin, 7-2).

Eight Fillies and Mares Enter Wide-Open $100,000 Blushing K.D.

My Racehorse Stable and Spendthrift Farm’s A Mo Reay headlines a field of eight older fillies and mares entered in Monday’s 15th running of the $100,000 Blushing K.D. Stakes, going 1 1/16 miles on the Stall-Wilson turf course. 

Trained by Brad Cox, the 3-1 morning line favorite has made only two starts on the grass, most recently finishing fifth in the Pebbles (G3), two lengths back from the Chad Brown French-bred Faith In Humanity. Recently transferred from Todd Pletcher’s barn, the 3-year-old has posted four morning workouts since arriving at Fair Grounds, including a 5-furlong 1:00.80 bullet on Dec 10. Florent Geroux will guide the Uncle Mo filly from post No. 6.

One of A Mo Reay’s main rivals in the Blushing K.D. is the Godolphin homebred Lake Lucerne. Though the Brandan Walsh trainee is winless in 2022, she has started in four graded stakes, including her last out fifth to Dalika in November’s Cardinal (G3) at Churchill Downs. Slated at 7-2 by morning-line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto, the 5-year-old mare by Dubawi will break from post No. 7 with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. 

Other top horses entered into the Blushing K.D. Stakes include Susan Moultan’s Jack Bishop stakes-winner Oliviaofthedesert trained by Wayne Catalano and Dream Big Racing’s Carpe Vinum who makes his first start for trainer John Ortiz after being transferred from Phil D’Amato’s barn.

Here is the complete field for the Blushing K.D. Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Island Hideaway (Adam Beschizza, Karl Broberg, 6-1); 2. Mo Clare’s (Jareth Loveberry, Chris Block, 8-1); 3. Wave of Goodness (Mitchell Murrill, Armando Hernandez, 8-1); 4. Carpe Vinum (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz, 7-2); 5. Oliviaofthedesert (Corey Lanerie, Wayne Catalano, 5-1); 6. A Mo Reay (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 3-1); 7. Lake Lucerne (Brian Hernandez Jr., Brendan Walsh, 7-2); 8. Quinn Ella (Emmanuel Nieves, Cesar Govea, 15-1).

Free Brisnet Past Performances

FREE Premium Past Performances for the Monday, Dec 26 “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” card will be provided by – your premiere source for online horse racing data and handicapping. The free pp’s can be accessed here:

Upcoming Holiday Live Racing Schedule

Fair Grounds is live Thursday & Friday (Dec 22-23, 1:15 p.m. CT), is dark Saturday (Christmas Eve) & Sunday (Christmas Day) and races live Monday, Dec 26 (“Road to the Derby Kickoff,” noon CT).



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

Captivating Moon with jockey Marcelino Pedroza aboard at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots