By Ryan Martin
A field of twelve Louisiana-breds have been assembled for Saturday’s $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes – a one mile event on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course for 4-year-olds and upward.
Klein Racing’s Extra Credit has not raced since a third-place effort in the Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes on May 26, but has been made the 4-1 morning line favorite by Fair Grounds odds maker Mike Diliberto. Trained by Brad Cox, the 6-year-old son of Proud Citizen is a four-time victor over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, most recently in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes in December 2017. As a 3-year-old he scored stakes wins in the Lafayette Stakes over a sloppy Evangeline Downs main track before going back to turf to win the Louisiana Legends Cheval Stakes. Extra Credit was second beaten a nose in last year’s Dixie Poker Ace Stakes behind Trust Factor and will be guided by jockey Colby Hernandez from post eight.
Breaking from post 11 is Ninety One Assault, who defeated open company on February 9 in his first start since finishing third in the Mr. Sulu Stakes in November. Owned by trainer Tom Morley in partnership with Paul Braverman, the 6-year-old son of Artie Schiller has never finished off the board in six career starts over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. Last meet he scored a pair of allowance wins over the local lawn against fellow Louisiana-breds. Earlier in the meet, Ninety One Assault was originally scheduled to target the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes in December, which eventually was rained off the turf.
“He has been a remarkably easy horse to keep on the go,” Morley said. “We had a productive meet last year. Had six or seven starts but there’s nothing that we can do about the weather, it’s been a pain all year. We had a number of horses get rained off so it was nice to get him in the starting gate. My only worry was the fact that he hadn’t run since the beginning of November.”
Ninety One Assault is the 9-2 second choice and will be guided by Shaun Bridgmohan.
Already a stakes winner this meet, Kendel Standlee’s In the Navy will seek another turf stakes win when he breaks from post two under Adam Beschizza. The Scott Gelner trained son of Midshipman also won last year’s Louisiana Cup Turf Stakes at Louisiana Downs in August. He will be making his first start since a distant sixth in the off-the-turf Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes on December 8. In the Navy is the 6-1 co-third choice.
Mallory Greiner’s Underpressure took the Louisiana Champions Day Classic earlier in the meet and will make his turf debut in the Dixie Poker Ace Stakes. In 26 career starts, the Chris Richard trained son of Birdstone has won eight times and has banked a total of $469,632. He will be guided by Corey Lanerie from post six at 8-1 odds.
Completing the field are Gladyousawme (post one, Declan Carroll, 15-1), Afleet Ascent (post three, Florent Geroux, 6-1), Grand Lewegee (post four, Marcelino Pedroza, 10-1), Harbor Pilot (post five, Mitchell Murrill, 10-1), Grande Basin (post seven, Miguel Mena, 12-1), Mageez (post nine, Gabriel Saez, 12-1), Magic Vow (post ten, James Graham, 15-1) and Theoryintopractice (post 12, Ty Kennedy, 12-1).
The Dixie Poker Ace Stakes is named after the 18-time stakes winning Louisiana-bred, whose notable victories included three consecutive wins in the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (1993-95). Purchased as a yearling for only $800 by Sebastien Farm, he went on to make $850,126 on the racetrack.