Louisiana Champions Preview Weekend Features Six New Stakes, Sets Stage for Brittlyn Stable’s Encore 

The victory march begins for Jose Camejo-driven Brittlyn Stable, sending out four of stallion Star Guitar’s finest


New Orleans, LA (November 17, 2022)—The history of 151 years of horse racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots can be read in the stakes names, from the Colonel Power to the Rachel Alexandra (G2), the Allen Lacombe to the Buddy Diliberto. That tradition continues with the addition of six new opening weekend restricted stakes, serving as the perfect springboard for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec 10.

Brittlyn Stable seems poised to replicate last year’s record-breaking number of 22 winners, all of whom were sired by Star Guitar, but this time Evelyn Benoit and Jose Camejo will look to kick off the meet in the same fashion they ended 2021 – 2022. On closing day, Brittlyn Stable sent out sire Star Guitar’s top three runners. Behemah Star won The Star Guitar, named after his legendary sire. Ova Charged won The Page Cortez. Spirited Beauty ran a gusty third in The Shantel Lanerie. 

Opening day will see Ova Charged and Spirited Beauty face off in the $75,000 Happy Ticket. Behemah Star is entered in the $75,000 Scott’s Scoundrel. Star Guitar’s newest hit, Pursuit l’Harmonie will debut in the $75,000 Donovan L. Ferguson for 2-year-old fillies.

Friday’s spotlight will be on Louisiana-bred fillies and mares

A 6 furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up will be run in Happy Ticket’s honor. The presence of Brittlyn Stable’s Ova Charged didn’t scare away eight others from entering, including stablemate Spirited Beauty. After winning The 2021 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint in an unforgettable battle against Cilla, Ova Charged has raced only once more, winning the Page Cortez by seven lengths over two others entered here, Snowball and Fame Feather. She has the talent to be the next graded stakes winning La-bred, durability is the only question. Installed as the 3-5 favorite by morning-line oddsmaker and Fair Grounds’ clocker Mike Diliberto, Ova Charged will be guided from post four by Jose Rodriguez. 

The Happy Ticket Stakes is Race eight on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 6:36 p.m. (all times CT). Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE8

A field of eight 3-year-olds and up will inaugurate the 1 mile 70 yards race across the main track in Big World’s honor. Allied Racing Stable’s Winning Romance is the deserving 2-1 morning line favorite. Winner of the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie in the spring, Calhoun has kept her fresh and in form. She defeated stablemate She’s Gone D’Wild in the Evangeline Distaff, and finished second to graded-stakes-aspiring Free Like a Girl on Oct 7 in the Magnolia at Delta Downs. Deshawn Parker keeps the mount and will likely be pressing or taking the early lead breaking from gate five.

It’s hard to argue with Keith Plaisance’s Cheapskate Diva’s 2022 form. After breaking her maiden against $20,000 claimers on May 14 across the Evangeline Downs turf course, trainer Joseph Felks moved her through two allowance conditions and then threw her in the deep end, facing the likes of Fort Polk, Net a Bear, and A G’s Charlotte in the Louisiana Cup Distaff at Louisiana Downs. She won. That was in August and she is fresh and firing bullets coming into this one. Colby Hernandez will leg up for the first time and he will likely send to the front from post eight. 

Fort Polk, the patient stalker from Pat Mouton’s barn, has drawn the rail (Emmanuel Nieves, 7-2 ML).

The Big World Stakes is Race four on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE4

Named for Fair Grounds’ beloved, longtime mutuels manager, the $75,000 Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial offers a chance for La-bred 2-year-old fillies to shine over 5 1/2 furlongs of dirt.

In June, Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy debuted at Churchill Downs and was bet to favoritism. She ran well but finished second, then came back against stakes company at Lone Star and again the betting public fancied her chances, and they were correct. It’s been two third-place finishes since then for the $200,000 yearling purchase trained by Calhoun, including finishing three lengths shy of Janet Is Ready at Delta Downs on October 14 in the Louisiana Jewel. That duo will renew acquaintances here. Rey Guitierrez will try to return her to the winner’s circle, breaking from post seven (5-2 ML).

The ownership team of Jerry Caroom, Carl Deville, Gerald Bruno Jr, and Our Blue Streaks Stable have to be feeling on top of the world about their $5,500 purchase, Janet Is Ready. With three stakes wins under her belt, including a score against open company in the Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Meadows in July, she is a tough-trip across a muddy track away from stakes perfection. Tabbed as the favorite when she debuted at Churchill Downs in May, she is a half sibling to two other fine La-breds, Janets Jay Jay and Prizeless. Chasey Pomier trains, and Devin Magnon comes in from Delta to ride.  Pegged as the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, Janet Is Ready drew gate three.

Slated as Race six, post time for the Ferguson is scheduled for 5:32 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE6

On Saturday, Nov 19 the focus shifts to Louisiana-bred colts

Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star will return to the main track in the $75,000 Scott’s Scoundrel for 3-year-olds and up to be run over 1 mile 70 yards. Having not won since closing day, it’s not surprising to see him at 6-1 on the morning line (Jose Rodriguez, post 2). Allied Racing Stables’ Who Took the Money is the deserving 7-5 favorite. 

Finishing third to Behemah Star in the Star Guitar Stakes after a brutal start, Who Took the Money won his next two, most recently earning a career-top speed figure in the Gold Cup Stakes at Delta. Deshawn Parker times this Calhoun-trainee’s late move perfectly, and he will have plenty of pace to close into with stablemate Highland Creek in the field (uncoupled Allied Racing entry). He doesn’t need the lead but he will definitely be pressuring the front runners: Kendel D Standlee’s Big Chopper (jockey Jareth Loveberry, trainer Scott Geldner, 15-1 ML, post 8), ​​Norman C Miller IV’s Maga Man (Joe Stokes, Norman Miller III, 12-1, post 7) , and Gerard Perron’s Grand Luwegee (Colby Hernandez, Gerard Perron, 6-1 ML, post 5). 

The Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes is Race seven on Saturday’s card. Post time is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE7

No other horse would be more fitting a winner of the inaugural 6-furlong $75,000 Monte Man Stakes for 3-year-olds and up than Allen Cassedy’s Bertie’s Galaxy. The Ron Faucheaux–trained stablemates ran first and second in last year’s Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, Monte’s Man final race. 

Bertie’s Galaxy is a 11-time winning speed demon who always runs his race, having finished in the exacta 19 out of his 25 tries. The 5-2 pre-betting favorite will look to get the jump on a field full of early speed from post 2 with Jareth Loveberry up.   

The Monte Man is Race eight on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE8

Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts will look to strut their stuff in the 5 1/2 furlong $75,000 Joseph R.Peluso Stakes. The Coteau Grove-bred Kevin Stedman-owned Late September exits a mid-October win in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes at Delta Downs. Before that, he ran in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot. In Camejo’s hands, he broke his maiden in May at Churchill Downs. This world-traveler will be piloted by jockey Jose Rodriguez. 5-2 on the morning line, he’ll break from the far outside in post 8. 

Morning-line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto tabbed Ivery Sisters Racing’s Not On Herb as his 7-2 main threat. This son of First Samurai impressed his trainer Ron Faucheux by surviving a taxing duel to win on debut in October at Delta Downs. 

Slated as Race 5, post time for the Peluso is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE


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 www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

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