Nitrous Breaks Skid, Wins Thanksgiving Classic
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Contact: Brian Nadeau
Notes Writer/Media Relations
Nitrous Breaks Skid, Wins Thanksgiving Classic
Asmussen trainee ends nice-race losing streak
New Orleans (November 26, 2020) – Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Nitrous settled just off a torrid speed duel, kicked clear off the far turn, and held off the late run of favored Manny Wah by 1 ½ lengths to win Fair Grounds’ Opening Day $125,000 Thanksgiving Classic.
Breaking alertly under Adam Beschizza, Nitrous was fifth-of-six early but just 4 lengths off a 21.52 pressured first quarter set by defending champion Bobby Wicked One, who was pressed from the outside by Landeskog. Landeskog quickly put Bobby’s Wicked One away on the backside but Nitrous was quick to pounce. The 4-year-old son of Tapit opened up off the far turn, and easily held off the late run of the late running Manny Wah in a final time of 1:09.78 for six furlongs. It was another half length back to Mr Money Bags in third.
With a career record of 18-4-3-2, Nitrous increased his bankroll to $547,796.
Nitrous had faced some of the sprint division’s best for trainer Steve Asmussen during a nine-race losing streak, while more than holding his own. He won for the first time since taking Oaklawn Park’s Bachelor in April 2019. Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi was on-hand to saddle the winner, and liked what he saw early on.
“I was pleased when I saw the two horses hook up, and the two behind them seemed to put some pressure on them as well,” Blasi said. “I thought Adam (jockey Beschizza) had him in a great spot early. Once he got him outside where he likes to run, he finished up well.”
Beschizza, who won two on the day, was pleased the race played out how it looked on paper, which hinted that both Bobby’s Wicked One and Landeskog would set hot and contested fractions.
“We knew Bobby’s Wicked One was the main speed in the race and he usually sets pretty good fractions,” Beschizza said. “The two of them were going at it early, so I was happy with my position early on. It was perfect for him, as he likes a scrap, and once he set his eyes on the leader, I don’t think there was going to be much getting by him. I’m sure he won’t be done with his winning ways throughout the meet.”
Nitrous was beaten just a nose in Belmont’s Woody Stephens (G1) in June 2019 and entered off a close third, beaten just a head, in Pimlico’s October 3 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash (G3). Blasi thinks the that the best is yet to come.
“I thought his last race was really good at Pimlico, he was unlucky not to win that day,” Blasi said. “He seems to be rounding into form, we always thought a lot him and look forward to him improving off this.”
Landeskog and Bobby’s Wicked One tired from their early exploits and finished fourth and sixth, respectively, and were split by fifth place finisher Tringale.
Racing resumes Friday at 1:00 p.m. CT with a nine-race card.
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 is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
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