Top Sophomores Hoosier Philly and Curly Jack Arrive at Fair Grounds

Contact: Kevin Kilroy
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  • “G Money” moves tack to FG
  • Nominations are in for the Nelson J. Menard Stakes

New Orleans, La (Jan 6, 2023) – On January 1 Hoosier Philly and Curly Jack rejoined the Team Amoss barn at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Both are coming off sensational 2-year-old campaigns, and following the Churchill Fall Meet, they were freshened up at Woodford Thoroughbreds.

“They’ll both point towards the preps for the Louisiana Derby  and Oaks,” Tom Amoss said. “The Risen Star for Curly Jack and the Rachel Alexandra for Hoosier (Philly).”

Slated for Saturday, Feb 18, the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford and the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton are the third of four local preps for the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and the Longines Kentucky Oaks, offering up 50-20-15-10-5 points.

A perfect 3-for-3 as a 2-year-old, Hoosier Philly earned ten points towards the Kentucky Oaks with her Golden Rod (G2) romp at Churchill Downs in November. She defeated Knockyoursocksoff and the eventual Untapbale winner Pretty Mischievous by 5 lengths going 1 1/16 miles. Prior to that she won the Rags to Riches Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths.

“Hoosier Philly is something,” Amoss said. “She’s something different than I’ve ever had. If she stays healthy she is going to wow the world.”

As a 2-year-old Curly Jack posted a 2-2-0 record in 6 starts, amassing $417,580 in earnings. He won the Iroquois Stakes (G3) in September at Churchill Downs, beating the 2022 Gun Runner winner Jace’s Road, Damon’s Mound, Echo Again, and others. In his most recent start he finished second to Instant Coffee in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). He currently sits second behind Forte on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard with 17 already in the bank. 



Gerard Melancon joined the jockey colony at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as of Thursday Jan 5, 2023. In what is becoming a reunion of Cajun jockeys who got their start on the bush tracks of Louisiana, Melancon joins Corey Lanerie and Jamie Theriot. With 5,086 career wins (as of Jan 5, 2023) and over $90 million in earnings, “G Money” as he is known by his fans won his first race at Fair Grounds on Nov 24, 1984 aboard Heart and Soul.

Melancon’s most prestigious win came in 2002 when he rode Bonapaw to victory in the Vosburgh (G2) at Belmont Park.

Melancon has seven mounts lined up for his first week back at Fair Grounds. 

Previously riding at Delta Downs, Melancon had a 6-6-10 record from 54 mounts. He will be represented by agent Chuck Costanza.



Nominations closed on Dec 31 with 26 older fillies and mares for the $100,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint. Notable nominations include the Monrovia Stakes (G2) winner Brooke Marie from Eddie Kenneally’s barn; Ready to Venture is on a two-stakes win streak for the Stidham barn, most recently the Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park. Trainer Chris Block nominates two, including the Pan Zareta Stakes winner Oeuvre.

The 4th running of the Menard is scheduled for Saturday, Jan 14. With the portable rail at 34 feet on the Stall-Wilson turf course, starters will be limited to eight runners.


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 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at