McPeek Stablemates Fire Bullet Towards Risen and Rachel Targets

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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New Orleans, La (Feb. 2, 2024) – Targeting the Risen Star (G2) and the Rachel Alexandra (G2), respectively, stablemates Real Men Violin and V V’s Dream worked in company going fastest of 31 on Friday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The two sophomore talents from Ken McPeek’s barn drilled five-eighths in :59.60. Their time was a full second faster than the next quickest five-furlong worker.

“They went well,” Fair Grounds clocker Frank McGoey said. “Both looked good coming through the wire in the middle of an early morning rush.”

Finishing second to Honor Marie in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), Real Men Violin earned 5 points on the road to Kentucky Derby 150. The chestnut son of Mendelssohn broke his maiden going one mile at Churchill Downs on Oct. 29, besting likely Risen Star foe, Track Phantom by 1/2 length.

V V’s Dream followed up her dominant Pocahontas (G3) win with a place-finish in the Alcibiades (G1). In her last start as a juvenile, the Mitole filly finished third in the Rags to Riches at Churchill Downs. With $433,105 in the bank, V V’s Dream is Mitole’s leading earner. 

Contentious Field of Fillies and Mares to Battle in Saturday’s Feature

A contentious field of seven older fillies and mares tabbed between 3-1 and 8-1 in the morning line will do battle sprinting six furlongs in Saturday’s feature dirt race at Fair Grounds. The allowance optional claiming affair is slated as Race 8 of 10, with a post time of 3:47 p.m. CT, adjusted for impending inclement weather. An updated schedule for Saturday is included below.

Trained by Andrew McKeever, Charriere was made the 3-1 morning line favorite. Currently in the best form of her career, over her last three races the 4-year-old stepped forward to win at Keeneland, ran a game second at Churchill, then finished behind Miss Arlington in her local outing. James Graham stays aboard and will break Charriere from post 6.

Drawing the rail and made 7-2 by the in-house oddsmaker, Happy Am I followed up her maiden win with a big step forward, beating eight fillies by over six lengths in November at Churchill Downs. Trained by Dallas Stewart, the Runhappy 4-year-old will be piloted by last-year’s leading rider, Reylu Gutierrez.

Claimed in November by Tom Amoss, Rose Palace could be poised for her first win for the barn. In her most recent drill, the 5-year-old Palace mare breezed a half-mile :47.40 bullet in company with the likely Rachel Alexandra-entrant Alys Beach. Amoss exercises the option to enter the four-time winner for a $50,000 tag in order to qualify for the conditions.  

Suarez Back from Injury, Named to Ride Three on Saturday

Out since Nov. 30 with a dislocated elbow, jockey Angel Suarez is ready to return to action at Fair Grounds and is named to ride three on Saturday, Feb. 3. 

Suarez suffered a dislocated elbow falling from his mount after bumping with a rival after the start on the sixth day of the 2023-2024 meet. Prior to his injury, he won the $100,000 Larry D. Robideaux Memorial on opening weekend above 32-1 Autumn Strong Man for trainer Gary Husak. The 11-year journeyman is represented by agent Rich Price.

Fair Grounds Adjusts Post Times for Saturday, Feb. 3 

Due to forecasted inclement weather, Saturday’s races at Fair Grounds are now scheduled as follows:

Race 1 – 12:45 p.m.
Race 2 – 1:11 p.m.
Race 3 – 1:37 p.m.
Race 4 – 2:03 p.m.
Race 5 – 2:29 p.m.
Race 6 – 2:55 p.m.
Race 7 – 3:21 p.m.
Race 8 – 3:47 p.m.
Race 9 – 4:13 p.m.
Race 10 – 4:39 p.m.

The racing week concludes on Sunday, Feb. 4 with an 8-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. as originally scheduled.


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