Peluso Winner El Dinero Made Favorite in Crescent City Derby

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  • Cross-entered Accommodate Eva Looms Large if Runs in Crescent City Oaks
  • Brian’s Iron Mike, Autumns Strong Man Attempt to Turn the Tables on My Pal Mattie in the Costa Rising

New Orleans, La (March 22, 2024) – With three stakes wins on his resume, John Tavormina’s El Dinero was tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $125,000 Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds. Attracting a field of eight Louisiana-bred 3-year-old males, the statebred derby is slated as race 7 of a dozen on Louisiana Derby Day. Post time is 3:00 p.m. for the 1 1/16 miles contest across the main track.

With $3 million in purses up for grabs, Saturday’s program also features the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton — 100-50-25-15-10 points races on the Road to the 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and the Longines Kentucky Oaks. First post is noon CT. 

Trained by Pat Devereux, El Dinero fell 3/4 length short when passed by Brittany’s Dream in the final stages of Louisiana Stallion of the Year Stakes in February. A perfect 8-for-8 in the money, the gelded son of El Deal has one win going two turns, scoring in the Prince on a muddy Delta Downs track. Slotted in post 2 and reuniting with jockey James Graham, the late-kicker has more than held his own against five of Saturday’s foes, but there are two fresh faces who could be upset-minded.

Triple Crown nominated Blue Eyed George was tabbed as the 7-2 morning line second choice in the Crescent City Derby. Owned by B G Stables, the Flameaway colt has never raced on dirt. Trainer Mike McCarthy ships Blue Eyed George in from Turfway Park in search of his first sophomore score. Having two turf wins against open company as a juvenile, Blue Eyed George attracts pilot John Velazquez, who was onboard for his allowance win going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland.  

Stretching out for the first time, the seasoned Sonofaship will also have to prove his class in the Crescent City Derby. Trained by Mike Maker, the gelding backed up his 6-furlong maiden score on the Lecomte undercard with a local allowance victory. Finishing third after encountering traffic trouble last out, the son of Midshipman gets a rider change. Irad Ortiz Jr. will guide Sonofaship from post 6.

Here is the field for the Crescent City Derby in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Spinning Aces (Tyler Gaffalione, Allen Landry, 8-1); 2. El Dinero (James Graham, Patrick Devereux, 5-2); 3. Blue Eyed George (John Velazquez, Michael McCarthy, 7-2); 4. Take Charge J J (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 12-1); 5. Gamer Nate (Corey Lanerie, Lonnie Briley, 6-1); 6. Sonofaship (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike Maker, 5-1); 7. Good and Stout (C.J. McMahon, 4-1); 8. Sounds Like Power (Jaime Torres, Jayde Gelner, 10-1).

Cross-entered Accommodate Eva Looms Large if Runs in Crescent City Oaks

Valene Farms’ two-time stakes winner Accommodate Eva has been cross-entered in both oaks races on Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby Day card, and if she goes in the $125,000 Crescent City Oaks, she looks to be the likely winner.  Made the 5-2 favorite against eight 3-year-old Louisiana-bred rivals, Accommodate Eva tips the scale in the other direction, if she runs in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), where she is tabbed as the 20-1 longshot. Scheduled as race 3 on the 12-race program, post time for the 1 mile 70 yards Crescent City Oaks is 1:00 p.m.

With two prior lackluster efforts going two turns, Accommodate Eva put all distance questions to rest when winning the local one-mile Louisiana Broodmare of the Year Stakes at the end of February. As a juvenile, the Dallas Stewart trainee ran at Saratoga, Churchill, Keeneland, and finally in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita. With the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie on her resume as well, there is no doubt Accommodate Eva has class. Corey Lanerie gets the encore call and he will break the Munnings filly from the rail. 

Logical contenders in the statebred oaks include Maury Harrington and Christopher Harrington’s Lightofmaine, as well as William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Sister Ella. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Lightofmaine overcame a troubled break last out in the Louisiana Broodmare of the Year to run third. The Starlet winner will be piloted by Joel Rosario. Although she is untested at two turns, Sister Ella won by over seven lengths when wiring the field to break her maiden two races back. The Mitole filly trained by Steve Asmussen faced winners next out and overcame her far outside draw to run third to the 4-year-old stakes-caliber filly, Olivia G.

“We’re taking a swing,” Asmussen said. “(She had a) wide draw the other day, (which) wasn’t the best place to be on the racetrack. She did regress a bit off the big race before. It looks like she’ll be on the lead if the racetrack is playing that way early. They’ll have her to catch.”

Here is the field for the Crescent City Oaks from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Accommodate Eva (Corey Lanerie, Dallas Stewart, 5-2); 2. Sister Ella (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 5-1); 3. Platinum Minit (Rey Gutierrez, Dallas Stewart, 9-2); 4. Lightofmaine (Joel Rosario, Bret Calhoun, 4-1); 5. Clearly a Test (Jose Guerrero, Shane Wilson, 5-1); 6. Pip Squeak (James Graham, Allen Landry, 20-1); 7. Saved by Grace (Ben Curtis, Gary Scherer, 15-1); 8. Emily’s Bullet (Edgar Morales, Chasey Pomier, 8-1); 9. Tommie G (Angel Suarez, Patricia West). 

Brian’s Iron Mike, Autumns Strong Man Attempt to Turn the Tables on My Pal Mattie in the Costa Rising

Despite finishing behind My Pal Mattie in their most recent encounter, Hat Racing’s Brian’s Iron Mike (3-1) has been awarded morning line favoritism over nine rivals for Saturday’s $100,000 Costa Rising at Fair Grounds. The 5 ½ furlong turf dash is restricted to Louisiana-breds 3 years old and up.

Four of the ten sprinters entered in the Costa Rising competed against one another in a state restricted optional claiming allowance event over the same turf distance on February 24. Elite Thoroughbreds’ My Pal Mattie, the 7-2 second choice in the Costa Rising, set a fast pace of 21.73 and 45.22 (rail seven feet out) in hand to jockey Jose Luis Rodriguez. He built a big lead at the top of the stretch and held safe to the wire for trainer Lee Thomas as the 3-1 second choice. It was the six-year-old gelded son of My Pal Charlie’s ninth win from 23 starts overall and sixth from just 13 tries on turf. Brian’s Iron Mike, whom the public tabbed as the 2-1 favorite, edged Autumns Strong Man for the place spot, one length behind the winner.

With Ben Curtis in the saddle from post nine, the Allen Landry-trained Brian’s Iron Mike will attempt to turn the tables on My Pal Mattie, who breaks from the seven-hole with Rodriguez back astride.

Set Hut’s multiple stakes winning Magnum, who won the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint earlier in the meet with a scintillating off the pace run, has proven quite versatile. The 4-year-old gelded son of Mo Tom has won seven of his 14 lifetime starts, from six furlongs upwards of 1 mile and 70 yards, but he has never run on turf. Installed at 6-1 in the morning line, he will break from post four with Corey Lanerie having accepted the call from trainer Jeff Delhomme.

Here is the complete field for the Costa Rising from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): 1. Flower Cat, who has rattled off three consecutive wins since being claimed on March 3; (Edgar Morales, Eduardo Ramirez, 15-1); 2. Autumns Strong Man, a four-time winner who finished third behind My Pal Mattie under similar conditions last out (Angel Suarez, Gary Husak, 8-1 ML); 3. Relentless Dancer, a six-time winner on dirt who has failed to hit the board from six tries on turf (Devin Magnon, Rylee Magnon, 20-1); 4. Magnum (Corey Lanerie, Jeff Delhomme, 6-1); 5. Unified Report, a recent $20,000 claim by the meet’s leading trainer (J. A. Guerrero, Shane Wilson, 10-1) 6. Sharp Charlie, winner of three of his last four and seven of 23 overall on dirt, but winless from five tries on turf (Emmanuel Nieves, Jorge Lara, 10-1); 7. My Pal Mattie (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Lee Thomas, 7-2); 8. Custom Bobby’s, A four-time winner on turf who has recently been competing in open $30,000 claiming races (Tyler Gaffalione, Sturges Ducoing, 8-1); 9. Brian’s Iron Mike, second in this race last year (Ben Curtis, Allen Landry, 3-1); and 10. Swot Analysis, a dominant winner on dirt earlier in the meet, but fifth in the recent common turf race behind My Pal Mattie (Rey Gutierrez, Mark Casse, 5-1).

With a post time of 12:30 p.m. CT, the Costa Rising is scheduled as the 2nd of 12 races and is one of eight stakes on Saturday’s “Louisiana Derby Day” card. 

LOUISIANA DERBY/FAIR GROUNDS OAKS COVERAGE ON CNBC – Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) and $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) will be shown as part of NBC Sports’ Road to the Kentucky Derby coverage and will air in a one-hour broadcast window on CNBC from 5-6 p.m. CT. 

          The broadcast will also include the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) from Turfway Park.

          NBC Sports’ coverage from Fair Grounds & Turfway Park will also be shown on Peacock.

WAGERING MENU LOADED FOR LOUISIANA DERBY DAY – The robust wagering menu at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Derby Day includes three Pick Fours (races 2-5, 5-8 and 9-12), three Pick Fives with a LOW 15% takeout (1-5, 4-8 and 8-12) and a $1 no jackpot Pick Six (also a 15% takeout – races 7-12). The “All Stakes Late Pick Five” will further entice horseplayers with a $500,000 guaranteed pool. The field sizes for the Late Pick 5 are 14-10-13-8-12.

FANS CAN ALSO BET THE SPECIAL BAYOU BLUEGRASS PICK FIVE – a two-track, $1 Pick 5 featuring all stakes races from Fair Grounds and Turfway Park. The sequence will begin at Fair Grounds in Race 9 for the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard at 4:04 p.m. (all times Central). The second leg will switch to Turfway Park for the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks with a scheduled post time of 4:43 p.m. Then, the third leg will go back to Fair Grounds and feature the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton at 5:12 p.m. The Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway will be the penultimate leg of the bet at 5:25 p.m. and it will close at Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby (G2) at 5:46 p.m. 


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

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