Touchuponastar, Jack Hammer Set to Square Off in Star Guitar…Or Are They?

Contact: Joe Kristufek
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New Orleans, La (March 22, 2024) – The winner of 11 of 14 career starts, the Louisiana-bred sensation Touchuponastar has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s 4-5 morning line favorite over six rivals or Sunday’s $100,000 Star Guitar presented by Brittlyn Stables. The 1 1/16 miles contest for 4 year-olds and up is restricted to Louisiana-breds.

Owned by Set-Hut Stables, Touchuponastar is trained by Jeff’s brother Jeff. He is also entered in Saturday’s $400,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard. For four-year-olds and up, the New Orleans Classic will be run at 1 1/8. Should he choose that route, Touchuponastar will accept his role as the 3-1 morning line favorite over nine open company rivals.

The question is, what play will former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme call?

“I honestly haven’t made a concrete decision yet,” Delhomme said earlier this week in regards to which race Touchuponastar will run in. “All I will say is that the horse is doing extremely well at the moment.”

Purchased for just $14,000 as a yearling, Touchuponastar has only run against open company twice in his career – finishing a game second behind Frosted Grace in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star in May 2023 and later winning the Delta Mile at Delta Downs in November. The 5-year-old gelded son of Star Guitar has won seven Louisiana-breds stakes and has banked over $700,000 along the way. He enters this weekend’s assignment on a four-race win streak.

Jockey Tim Thornton, who has been aboard for every one of his races, sans the career debut, would partner with Touchuponastar once again on Sunday from post two.

Top to bottom, Saturday’s Muniz for four times the purse money would pose a more difficult challenge than Star Guitar for Touchuponastar, but the presence of the rapidly improving Jack Hammer adds some Pelican State punch to Sunday’s race.

An Allied Racing Stable’s homebred son of Jimmy Creed, the 4-year-old gelding Jack Hammer rattled off three wins to begin his career, two of them Louisiana-bred stakes. A distant fourth as the 2-5 favorite in the Louisiana Stallion of the Year Half Ours on February 25, 2023, Jack Hammer was subsequently sidelined for nearly seven months. Eighth of nine upon his return in the Robideaux Memorial on November 18, Jack Hammer would go on to score a hat trick of local wins, each more impressive than the last. In the Eddie Johnston Memorial last out, he romped by 8 ½ lengths, posting a career-high 100 Brisnet speed figure.

For the sake of comparison, Touchuponastar has earned at least 100 Bris fig four times, with a top of 104 coming earlier this meet in the Louisiana Classic. He defeated the highly accomplished Tumbarumba that day, and that talented veteran returned to win the Fred Hooper (G3) at Gulfstream in his next start.

Here is the complete field for the Star Guitar from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): 1. Jack Hammer (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 5-2); 2. Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 4-5); 3. Wise Verdict, a distant third in the Johnston Memorial last out (Ben Curtis, Eduardo Ramirez, 20-1); 4. Heza Pickle, winner of a restricted starter allowance stake in the mud last out at Delta Downs (Angel Suarez, Jorge Lara, 50-1); 5. Budro Talking, a career earner of $493K who won a conditioned allowance for Louisiana-breds last out (Corey Lanerie, Sturges Ducoing, 10-1) 6. Blue Cheese, a three-time winner at Fair Grounds who ran third behind Budro Talking last out (Jaime Torres, Samuel Breaux, 15-1); and 7. Behemah Star, winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Turf earlier in the meet and second last out in the Johnston Memorial (J. A. Guererro, Shane Wilson, 4-1).

With a post time of 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, the Star Guitar is scheduled as race 11 of 15 and is one of a trio of stakes on a marathon closing day card. 


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