By Ryan Martin
Rick, Donna and Jeff Awtrey’s Marquee Prince secured a stakes level win earlier this month when taking the Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Memorial Overnight Stakes. This Saturday he’ll be back for another stakes win against sophomores over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course in the $75,000 Black Gold Stakes.
Breaking from the six hole as the 9-5 morning line favorite, Marquee Prince seeks his fourth career victory in the Black Gold Stakes for two-time Fair Grounds leading trainer Brad Cox. The 3-year-old son of Cairo Prince has acquired a total of $105,451 six career starts. He broke his maiden over a muddy main track at Indiana Grand Race Course in his second career outing last August and a month later romped to victory against winners over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course. After two fifth-place finishes against stakes company on the main track, Marquee Prince tried the turf again where he won the Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Stakes. He will be guided by Florent Geroux and will look to give Cox his fifth stakes victory of the meet.
Marquee Prince will take on some familiar faces in the Black Gold Stakes, including Lloyd ‘Captain’ Maestri Stakes runner-up and third-place finishers Spectacular Gem and Bluegrass Parkway. Trained by Jimmy Baker and owned by Candie Baker, Spectacular Gem (post seven, Joe Rocco, Jr., 4-1) was an impressive six-length winner over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course two starts back on January 12. The son of Can the Man set a slow pace in the Maestri last out but drifted out mid-stretch and was overtaken by Marquee Prince. Michael Ryan’s Bluegrass Parkway (post eight, James Graham, 7-2) was third in the Maestri where he was beaten 1½ lengths behind Marquee Prince. Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, the son of Quality Road’s lone victory in four career starts was a maiden victory over the turf at Keeneland when breaking his maiden on October 21.
Rounding out the field are Uncapped (post one, Miguel Mena, 12-1), Vivid Verse (post two, Adam Beschizza, 4-1), Logical Myth (post three, Gabriel Saez, 12-1), Ian Glass (post four, Shaun Bridgmohan, 12-1) and Tobacco Road (post five, Corey Lanerie, 10-1). The Black Gold Stakes is named in honor of the 1924 Kentucky Derby winner who did quite a bit of his running at Fair Grounds. Owned by Mrs. Rosa Hoots, Black Gold won his career debut at Fair Grounds by six lengths and would eventually go on to win races like the Louisiana Derby, Bashford Manor Stakes and Derby Trial. Black Gold is one of three horses buried in the Fair Grounds infield.