Louisiana-bred Win Machine Touchuponaster Entered to Take On Mineshaft Superfecta in New Orleans Classic


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  • Former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme could call an audible and instead run in Sunday’s restricted Star Guitar Stakes

New Orleans, La (March 20, 2024) – The winner of 11 of 14 career starts, the Louisiana-bred Touchuponastar has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s 3-1 morning line favorite over the top four finishers from the Mineshaft (G3) and five others for Saturday’s nine furlong $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard. 

Purchased for just $14,000 as a yearling, Touchuponastar has only run against open company twice in his career – finishing a game second behind Frosted Grace in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star in May 2023 and later winning the Delta Mile at Delta Downs in November. The 5-year-old gelded son of Star Guitar has won seven Louisiana-breds stakes and has banked over $700,000 along the way. 

Owned by Set-Hut Stables of former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme, Touchuponastar is trained by his brother Jeff. He is also entered in Sunday’s $100,000 Star Guitar Stakes presented by Brittlyn Stables. Restricted to Louisiana-breds four-year-olds and up, the Star Guitar will be run at 1 1/16 miles. Should he choose that route, Touchuponastar is expected to be an odds-on favorite over the upstart Jack Hammer and five others.

“I honestly haven’t made a concrete decision yet,” Delhomme said in regards to which race Touchuponastar will run in. “All I will say is that the horse is doing extremely well at the moment.”

Jockey Tim Thornton, who has been aboard for every one of his races sans the career debut, would partner with Touchuponastar once again on Saturday and the duo will break from post three. 

Claimed in August at Saratoga for $35,000, Jordan Wycoff’s Money Supply finished second in his first try for the new barn, but he’s since rattled off five consecutive wins, including the locally run Claiming Crown Jewel on Dec. 2 and most recently the Mineshaft (G3), also at Fair Grounds.

Sent off at odds of 9-1 over a track rated as sloppy in the Mineshaft, Money Supply rated mid-pack behind the hot pace set by the favored Best Actor. All in midway through the far turn, the Joe Sharp-trainee sustained his bid all the way to the wire, edging the suborn pacesetter by a head to earn his first career graded stakes win. Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for the Mineshaft score, has the return call and the duo will break from post five at 9-2 in the morning line.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the Mineshaft, Steve Moger’s Best Actor did all the dirty work, battling through a rigorous opening half mile of 46.97. He shook off the pesky presser Dubyuhnell on the far turn and dug in gamely, only to lose the narrow decision. 

“He’s doing great,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He always lets you know when he’s ready to run. We missed a little time with him when we first got down here. He was doing really well when he ran in the Mineshaft and we like what we’ve seen from him since. A little bit deeper race, a little more pace this time around, but he’s doing well. If he gets the right set-up. I’m not sure if he’ll make the lead but he’ll be close. Flavien (Prat) knows him well from riding down here and in New York. I expect him to run big.”

The 5-year-old son of Flatter won the Smarty Jones (G3) as a 3-year-old and he placed in both the Indiana Derby (G3) and Oklahoma Derby (G3) that same season for trainer Brad Cox. Flavien Prat, who has been aboard Best Actor in his last three starts, gets the call from post nine aboard the 7-2 second choice in the morning line. 

Here is the complete field for the New Orleans Classic from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): 1. Red Route One, a career earner of over $1.2 million; (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen, 6-1); 2. Gasoline, a four-time winner who got his first graded stakes placing in the Mineshaft last out (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, 8-1 ML); 3. Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 3-1); 4. Black Belt, winner of a second-level optional claiming allowance last out at Gulfstream (Brian Hernandez, Jr., Peter Walder, 10-1); 5. Money Supply (Tyler Gaffalione, Joe Sharp, 9-2) 6. Happy American, a G3 winner who finished 3rd in the Stephen Foster (G1) last year (Corey Lanerie, Neil Pessin, 30-1); 7. Super Cortino (Arg), a group 1 winner in his native Chile who was last seen finishing up the track in the 2023 Dubai World Cup (G1) (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Ignacio Correas IV, 12-1); 8. Velocitor, a recent upset winner of a second-level optional claiming allowance at Fair Grounds (David Cohen, Gary Scherer, 10-1); 9. Best Actor (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox, 7-2); and 10. Lure Him In, recently second behind Black Belt in a second-level optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream (Edwin Gonzales, Saffie Joseph, Jr., 10-1)

With a post time of 4:04 p.m. CT, the New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard is scheduled as the 9th of 12 races and is one of eight stakes on Saturday’s “Louisiana Derby Day” card. With $3 million in purses up for grabs, the program also features the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton — 100-50-25-15-10 points races on the Road to the 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and the Longines Kentucky Oaks. First post is noon CT.  

Additional quote:

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Red Route One

“Not ideal to be on the rail again. He’s doing well. He’s never missed a beat. He’s just a wonderful horse.”


LOUISIANA DERBY/FAIR GROUNDS OAKS COVERAGE ON CNBC – Saturday’s $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) will be shown as part of NBC Sports’ Road to the Kentucky Derby coverage and will air in a one-hour broadcast window on CNBC from 5-6 p.m. CT.  

          The broadcast will also include the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) from Turfway Park. 

          NBC Sports’ coverage from Fair Grounds & Turfway Park will also be shown on Peacock.

WAGERING MENU LOADED FOR LOUISIANA DERBY DAY – The robust wagering menu at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Derby Day includes three Pick Fours (races 2-5, 5-8 and 9-12), three Pick Fives with a LOW 15% takeout (1-5, 4-8 and 8-12) and a $1 no jackpot Pick Six (also a 15% takeout – races 7-12). The “All Stakes Late Pick Five” will further entice horseplayers with a $500,000 guaranteed pool. The field sizes for the Late Pick 5 are 14-10-13-8-12. 

FANS CAN ALSO BET THE SPECIAL BAYOU BLUEGRASS PICK FIVE – a two-track, $1 Pick 5 featuring all stakes races from Fair Grounds and Turfway Park. The sequence will begin at Fair Grounds in Race 9 for the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard at 4:04 p.m. (all times Central). The second leg will switch to Turfway Park for the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks with a scheduled post time of 4:43 p.m. Then, the third leg will go back to Fair Grounds and feature the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton at 5:12 p.m. The Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway will be the penultimate leg of the bet at 5:25 p.m. and it will close at Fair Grounds for the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at 5:46 p.m.  


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 16 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 152nd Thoroughbred Racing Season–highlighted by the 111th running of the Louisiana Derby–will run from Nov. 17, 2023 through March 24, 2024. More information is available online at www.fgno.com.