Miles Ahead Much the Best in $200,000 Thanksgiving Classic

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
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  • Jockey Joe Talamo returns home to successfully pilot the Paul McGee trainee

New Orleans, La (Nov. 23, 2023) – Favorite in the morning line and bet like it by the public, Miles Ahead was much the best in the 99th running of the $200,000 Thanksgiving Classic. Thursday’s dominant 6-furlong win at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots put Jay Em Ess Stable’s 6-year-old within striking distance of the millionaire milestone. 

After breaking last of seven, Miles Ahead would have to work hard early to get into position and not lose touch with the speedster Super Ocho who shot out to the lead. At the top of the stretch, Miles Ahead switched leads and powered past the distance-challenged Super Ocho to win by over four lengths. Super Ocho hung on for second, followed by Kavod and Swift as I Am.

Corroborated by the final time of 1:08.49, Paul McGee trainee’s effort in the Thanksgiving Classic had the look of a horse running in peak form. The local track record is 1:08.03, set by Mountain General Nov. 28, 2002.

Jefferson Parish’s own Joe Talamo was in town from Kentucky to ride Miles Ahead for trainer Paul McGee. In 2006, Talamo won the Fair Grounds jockey title, the first rookie ever to accomplish such a feat. 

“He’s a real nice horse to ride,” Talamo said. “He’s definitely one who can get a little lazy early on, especially with that outside post. I had to ride him for a quarter mile to keep him in contention. When he switched leads at the top of the stretch, he exploded. I couldn’t believe that final time. He was really running. He’s one of those consistent horses, he’s always second or third, not getting beat too far. Today he really put it all together. A testament to Paul McGee’s training. I know he was coming back quickly, but he and his team did a great job with this horse.”

Thursday’s win put Miles Ahead within striking distance of the millionaire milestone. Sitting at $932,313, the ever-honest son of Competitive Edge boasts a 32-13-7-3 career record. 

Chasing Time, Gilcrease, and Machine Gun Man rounded out the finishing order.

The holiday week of racing continues at Fair Grounds with a regular 12:45 p.m. first post on Friday and Saturday. Nine races have been carded each day, and the 58th running of the $100,000 Pan Zareta Stakes is slated as race 8 on Saturday.


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




Miles Ahead horse racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots