Off Dominant Victories in Half Ours and Buttercup’s Song, Allnight Moonlight and Free Drop Maddy Return in Crescent City Derby and Oaks; Brow and Brow Takes His Game to Turf Court in the $100,000 Costa Rising
New Orleans, La (March 24, 2023) – With a third consecutive win in his crosshairs, Roger G. Smith’s Allnight Moonlight, a recent open lengths winner of the Half Ours stakes, tackles seven fellow sophomore Louisiana-breds in Saturday’s $100,000 Crescent City Derby. The lid-lifter on the Louisiana Derby Day card, post time is noon (all times central) for the 1 1/16 miles main-track affair.
The 15-race card will also feature two other Louisiana-bred stakes as Free Drop Maddy will battle six other sophomore fillies in the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks (Race 3, 1:00 p.m. post time) and an oversubscribed field of 16 male turf sprinters will make a mad dash for cash in the $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes (Race 4, 1:30 pm post time). The portable rail has been moved inside from 34 to 28 feet for all this weekend’s turf races, and with that, field sizes are expanded to nine entries for the Costa Rising.
The headlines of Saturday’s 8-stakes program are the 110th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and the 56th running of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton. 100-40-30-20-10 Kentucky Derby and Oaks points are on the line for the top five finishers as the Championship Series begins in New Orleans with the 1 3/16 miles Louisiana Derby (Race 12, 5:42 p.m) and the 1 1/16 miles Fair Grounds Oaks (5:08 p.m.). The Louisiana Derby concludes an all-stakes Pick 5 with a guaranteed pool of $500,000 which begins in Race 8 with the $100,000 Tom Benson Stakes (3:32 p.m post time), followed by the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard, and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial (G2) presented by Horse Racing Nation.
It took Roger Smith’s Allnight Moonlight four races and a set of blinkers to break his maiden. In his second time stretching out but his first time equipped, he broke sharp from the rail and never looked back. Ditto in the 1 mile 70 yard Half Ours, making his total margin of victory in his two races with blinkers on 12 3/4 lengths. Trained by the current meet-leading trainer Ron Faucheux (37 wins as of end of day March 23), the Ransom the Moon colt will break from post No. 5 in the local Derby. He will be piloted by Florent Geroux, as his regular jockey Jareth Loveberry heads to Turfway Park to ride Two Phil’s in Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).
Here is the complete field for the Crescent City Derby from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Benoit (Brian Hernandez Jr., Andrew McKeever, 7-2); 2. Kajun Karma (C.J. McMahon, Steve Flint, 12-1); 3. I Don’t Venmo (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen, 6-1); 4. Mor Big Lee (Elio Barrera, Jayde Gelner, 10-1); 5. Allnight Moonlight (Florent Geroux, Ron Faucheux, 9-5); 6. Calibrachoa Kid (Deshawn Parker, Shane Wilson, 8-1); 7. Mangum (Tim Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 6-1); 8. Late September (Luis Saez, Jose Camejo, 5-1).
Exiting an impressive win in the Buttercup’s Song, the three-time stakes winner Free Drop Maddy will attempt to reassert her dominance over the division in the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks. Seven Louisiana-bred fillies entered to run the 1 mile 70 yard contest, which is scheduled as Race 3 on the 15-race Louisiana Derby Day program (1 pm CT post time).
In a meet where Mansfield Racing has won a phenomenal eight of 12 starts, their 3-year-old filly Free Drop Maddy has been a centerpiece of their success. Beginning with her $75,000 Ferguson score as a 2-year-old on opening day, the Free Drop Billy filly trained by Bret Calhoun has swept her local stakes attempts. Her wire-to-wire win last out in the $75,000 Buttercup’s Song was her first successful attempt going two-turns. As of end of the day March 23, Calhoun sits second in the trainer standings with 36 wins, just one behind current leader Ron Faucheux, and Free Drop Maddy’s jockey for the Oaks, Rey Gutierrez, leads all riders with 62 wins.
Here is the complete field for the Crescent City Oaks from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Alpine Mist (Vicente Del-Cid, J. Luis Garcia, 7-2); 2. Free Drop Maddy (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 7-5); 3. Star Moment (Corey Lanerie, Ron Faucheux, 15-1); 4. Guitar Woman (Emanuel Nieves, Joe Duhon, 5-1); 5. Olivia G (Deshawn Parker, Patricia West, 4-1); 6. Louisiana Liberty (Gerard Melancon, Steve Flint, 20-1); 7. New Destiny (Florent Geroux, Jayde Gelner, 5-1).
Brow and Brow Takes His Game to Turf Court in the $100,000 Costa Rising
Gary Barber’s Bron and Brow entered Saturday’s $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots with a perfect 3-for-3 record as a 4-year-old, including two stakes victories. He will need to transfer his career-best form to the turf in an oversubscribed field of 16 Louisiana-bred males, but only nine will run with the portable rail set at 28 feet. Slated as Race 4 of 15 on the Louisiana Derby Day card, post time is 1:30 p.m. CT.
Showcasing his highest speed figure to date when winning January’s 6-furlong $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial, Brow and Brow backed that up by scoring what arguably is his most impressive win. In the 5-furlong Premier Sprint at Delta Downs, the the Mark Casse trainee who usually tends to the pace broke in the back of the pack but was still able to run down the field under a signature “Reylu rally.” Leading jockey Gutierrez retains the mount and will guide the 9-5 morning line favorite Bron and Brow from post No. 9.
Other accomplished entries in the Costa Rising include L and G Racing’s Yankee Seven who won the 2022 edition; Kendel Standlee’s versatile Big Chopper who reigned supreme in both the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on the dirt and the Eddie Johnston Memorial going one mile on the turf; and first up on the also-eligible list, West Point Thoroughbreds Swot Analysis, fresh off defeating Ova Charged in an allowance.
Here is the complete field for the Costa Rising Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line): 1. Yankee Seven (Aubrie Green, Cesar Govea, 9-2); 2. Relentless Dancer (Luis Saez, Keith Bourgeois, 15-1); 3. X Clown (James Graham, Jeff Delhomme, 6-1); 4. Bertie’s Galaxy (Florent Geroux, Ron Faucheux, 6-1); 5. Feisty Fist (Mitchell Murrill, Steve Flint, 15-1); 6. Vodka Gimlet (Tim Thornton, Allen Landry, 10-1); 7. Brian’s Iron Mike (Joe Stokes, Allen Landry, 8-1); 8. Big Chopper (Corey Lanerie, Scott Gelner, 7-2); 9. Bron and Brow (Rey Gutierrez, Mark Casse, 9-5). Also-eligible: 10. Swot Analysis (Brian Hernandez Jr., Mark Casse, 2-1); 11. Helaire (Emanuel Nieves, Pat Mouton, 15-1); 12. Mike J (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Lee Thomas, 6-1); 13. Hooray Austin (Tracy Hebert, Sean Alfortish, 12-1); 14. Oh My Aching Arch (Deshawn Parker, Shane Wilson, 12-1); 15. My Pal Mattie (Mitchell Murrill, Lee Thomas, 12-1); 16. Apache Tears (Treylon Albert, Terry Gabriel, 20-1).