The Cox Barn Enters Three in Pair of Juvenile Sprint Stakes on Monday’s  “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” | Corona Bolt Made Favorite in Sugar Bowl, Dazzling Blue likewise in Letellier

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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New Orleans, La (December 21, 2022) – Stonestreet Stables’ first-out winner Corona Bolt headlines a field of six juveniles colts entered in Monday’s 73rd running of the $100,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes, one of four 2-year-old stakes events on the 9-stakes “Road to the Derby Kickoff” program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. 

The 6-furlong Sugar Bowl will go as Race 4 of 13 with a post time of 1:30 p.m. CT. The spectacular day of racing features the $100,000 Gun Runner Stakes (Race 11) and $100,000 Untapable (Race 12). Both races offer the last chance for Kentucky Derby and Oaks dreamers to earn qualifying points (10-4-3-2-1) as 2-year-olds.  The juvenile counterpart to the Sugar Bowl, the six-furlong $100,000 Letellier, will go as Race 8.

Brad Cox trains the 8-5 morning line favorite Corona Bolt who debuted on Nov 19 at Churchill Downs, beating nine rivals going 6 1/2 furlongs, including the next-out winner Communication Memo from the Asmussen barn. A Bolt d’Oro colt out of the Quiet American dam Stormbeforethecalm, Corona Bolt was purchased for $225,000 at the Keeneland November Sale. 

“Hopefully he’ll stretch out when it’s time,” Brad Cox said. “But this is the right spot for his second career run.”

Florent Geroux retains the mount and will break from post No. 3 with early speed drawn on either side.

One of Corona Bolt’s rivals in the Letellier is his stablemate Novogratz Racing Stable’s Distorted Pro. Making his fourth start in the Sugar Bowl, this Distorted Humor colt broke his maiden at Horseshoe Indianapolis in November, finishing ahead of Natural Harbor, a next-out winner. Distorted Pro has one trip around the local surface where he dueled throughout against Release McCracken who got the best of him. Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. will ride Distorted Pro from the rail.

Cox has had runners finish second in the Sugar Bowl three times (Twirling Cinnamon 2015, Amongst 2019, and Gagetown 2020). Neither he nor any of the other trainers with entries has ever won this historic race. 

Another top colt entered into the Sugar Bowl Stakes is Kevin Stedman’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile winner Late September. With a 92 Brisnet Speed figure in his most recent stakes victory, the Pelican stater has run the fastest figure in the field. Handicappers would be wise to throw out his third-place finish in November’s Peluso Memorial. 

“In the Peluso he moved from 7 furlongs to 5 1/2  which can be a little confusing for a 2-year-old. Plus the track was wet,” trainer Jose Camejo said. 

Bred by Coteau Grove in Louisiana, the son of Munnings will be piloted from post No. 6 by Fair Grounds’ current leading jockey Jose Luis Rodriguez.

Another formidable runner is Norman Stables and Mark Norman’s seasoned 7-time runner Toddchero who has started in four stakes and traveled to six tracks, starting with his debut win at Lone Star Park. He is trained by Jayde Gelner, son of Scott Gelner who won this race for Norman Stables in 2017 with Land Battle.  

Here is the complete field for the Sugar Bowl Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): 1. Distorted Pro (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Brad Cox, 5-2); 2. Alto Road (Colby Hernandez, Ronnie Cravens III, 8-1); 3. Corona Bolt (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 8-5); 4. Machine Gun Man (James Graham, Howard Alonzo, 10-1); 5. Toddchero (Jareth Loveberry, Jayde Gelner, 9-2); 6. Late September (Luis Saez, Jose Camejo, 7-2).


Juddmonte’s debut-winner Dazzling Blue tops a field of eight juveniles that were entered in Monday’s $100,000 Letellier Memorial. The Brad Cox-trainee will have her hands full in the 63rd running of the 6-furlong dirt-sprint which features talented fillies from the barns of Al Stall Jr, Tom Amoss, Brendan Walsh, Ken McPeek, and others.

Dazzling Blue led through all calls in November at Churchill Downs where she dominated eight rivals by 4 1/2 lengths in the maiden special weight. The daughter of Into Mischief out of the Curlin dam Blue Violet was bred by WinStar Farm and purchased for $500,000 by Juddmonte as a Keeneland September Yearling. She has one local work, and will be adding Lasix for her anticipated return. 

Juddmonte and Cox won the 2019 edition of the Letellier with Taraz, also a daughter of Into Mischief. Tabbed at 5-2 in the morning line, Dazzling Blue will be ridden in the Letellier by Florent Geroux from post No. 2.

Chief among her competitors in the Letellier is J S Stables and Little Red Feather’s Promise of Hope who is trained by Tom Amoss. The impressive debut-winner made her second start in the Adirondack (G3) where she was pulled up; next, she returned to finish third in an allowance at Kentucky Downs. She followed up that turf effort with another, running in the Jessamine (G2), where she finished last going 1 1/16 miles.  

“With any young horse you want to find out what their capabilities and limitations are,” Amoss said. “(Promise of Hope) broke her maiden sprinting and we wanted to see will she go further, will she go two turns, will she go on the grass. We feel very comfortable that she is a sprinter on dirt or grass and we’ll keep her in those kinds of races.”

Third to the Untapable favorite Pretty Mischievous over a sloppy Keeneland track, the Ghostzapper filly got back to her winning ways over the fast track at Fair Grounds on Dec 4. Corey Lanerie will ride the 7-2 morning line second choice from post No. 4. 

“This time of year with young horses, if they’ve won two races there’s not many allowance races available,” Amoss said. “You have to see how she’ll do against stakes competition. I recognize the talent of Brad Cox’s filly (Dazzling Blue) and we’re looking forward to seeing how (Promise of Hope) measures up against her.”

Godolphin’s Twice as Sweet turned heads winning November’s Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park, earning a field-fastest 92 Brisnet Speed figure. In her third local work, she impressed the clockers breezing 5 furlongs in 1:01.20, the third best of 51 going that distance. Twice as Sweet is trained by Brendan Walsh. The Candy Ride filly out of the Tapit dam Snowbell has proven to be an effective presser, finishing in the exacta in the two races she did not win for a 2-2-0 record in 4 starts. Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride the filly made 4-1 in the morning line from post No. 8.

Another impressive maiden winner that was entered in the Letellier is Highlander Training Center’s Neutralize. Trained by Al Stall Jr., the Run Happy filly out of the Blame dam Spank dueled throughout to prove best when debuting on Nov 23 at Churchill Downs. Stall looks for his second Letellier victory, having sent out Total to the winner’s circle in 2007. Neutralize will be ridden by Colby Hernandez from post No. 3.

Here is the complete field for the Letellier from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): 1. Condensation (Luan Machado, Chris Hartman, 10-1); 2. Dazzling Blue (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 5-2); 3. Neutralize (Colby Hernandez, Al Stall Jr., 6-1); 4. Promise of Hope (Corey Lanerie, Tom Amoss, 7-2); 5. Flamand (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Elias Lopez, 12-1); 6. Miss Shipman (Juan Vargas, Lonnie Briley, 8-1); 7. Gavinera (Deshawn Parker, Ken McPeek, 8-1); 8. Twice as Sweet (Brian Hernandez Jr., Brendan Walsh, 4-1).

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Epicenter with jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. aboard at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots