Friday, February 19 2010
Preview Day Invaders Gallop Thursday Morning
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, February 18, 2010) – The Todd Pletcher-trained trio of horses who arrived Wednesday in New Orleans for three different graded races on Saturday’s Louisiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds all got the feel of the local atmosphere Thursday morning with leisurely gallops around the Crescent City course.
“Discreetly Mine had a relaxed gallop of a mile-and-a-quarter and Devil May Care and Blues Street both jogged a mile,” said longtime Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale, who will saddle all three horses Saturday. “When they got here yesterday, they all settled in right away without any problem.”
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra Works Five Furlongs in 1:00 1/5
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, February 18, 2010) – Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra continued to work forwardly Thursday morning in advance of the March 13 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, breezing five furlongs on a fast main track in 1:00 1/5 with regular exercise rider Dominic Terry aboard. The 4-year-old filly broke off rather keen from the five-eighths pole but settled into herself around the far turn, working through fractions of :12, :23 4/5, :35 3/5 and :47 3/5. The final time made it the second-fastest five-furlong move of 19 on the morning.
“I think we’ve got a little Goldilocks going on,” trainer Steve Asmussen said after the work, referring to the young girl in the fairy tale who needs a few tries to find the middle ground that is just right. “The racetrack was wet last week, and a little slow, and we were being careful. I thought she was overly aggressive today, a little quick, so hopefully we’ll level off.”
Thursday, February 18 2010
Honest Pace Assured in Risen Star After Florida Flight Arrival
NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 17, 2010) – When an equine charter from South Florida touched down in New Orleans at about 11:30 Wednesday morning, a legitimate pace in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Derby Preview Day was all but assured.
Aboard the flight was Gainesway Farm’s Tempted to Tapit, a Steve Klesaris trainee who broke his maiden with a front-running victory by 11 1/2-lengths at Aqueduct in his most recent outing Jan. 18; WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer – conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott – a Distorted Humor colt that was just off the early pace in his last start Jan. 31 at Gulfstream before drawing clear for a 1 3/4-length score; and Paul Robsham’s Discreetly Mine – trained by Todd Pletcher – a homebred son of Mineshaft who was unable to join up with the early leaders in his last start in Gulfstream’s Spectacular Bid Stakes Jan. 9 after bobbling at the start and then getting bumped on the turn to finish fourth.
Wednesday, February 17 2010
Chantilly Nayla Wins Mardi Gras Stakes
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 16, 2010) – Salman Rashed’s Chantilly Nayla outgamed Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Kinsolving and Robert Pierz’ Hathors Legacy respectively in a three-horse pinball finish to Tuesday’s 66th running of the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds.
However, all three horses had to survive a stewards’ inquiry concerning the stretch run before their order under the wire was allowed to stand.
La. Derby Preview Day Showcases Six Strong Stakes
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 16, 2010) – Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, 3-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, breezed a half-mile in 49.60 on Mardi Gras morning with regular rider James Graham in the irons, and also on the Tuesday tab was Risen Star entrant Mountain Justice, owned by Blu Shu Stables, who accomplished the same distance in 50.40 in his final tune-up for Saturday’s centerpiece event.
However, this weekend’s $300,000 Risen Star, the last designed prep leading up to the $750,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, is only one of six stakes showcased on Saturday’s expanded Louisiana Derby Preview Day program, with a total of 13 races and an earlier-than-usual first post time of 12:10 p.m. CST.
Tuesday, February 16 2010
Ron the Greek, Drosselmeyer Top 12 Named to Grade II Risen Star Stakes
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 15, 2010) – Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek, hero of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23, and WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer, a rapidly emerging sophomore who won his first start of the year in impressive fashion at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31, may vie for favoritism when they head a field of 12 named to Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Ron the Greek has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 choice in Saturday’s final major local tune-up for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, while Drosselmeyer has been tabbed at 4-1.
Rock Hard Noses Giant’s Tomb in Lundi Gras Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 15, 2010) – Stacey Moak’s Rock Hard, a distant last in the early stages of Monday’s featured sixth race, passed seven rivals in the stretch to earn a nose victory over Sam-Son Farms’ Giant’s Tomb in the $41,000 first-level allowance with $50,000 claiming option, originally carded for the turf but contested at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Rock Hard, with Miguel Mena aboard, and Giant’s Tomb, with Corey Lanerie up, exchanged brushes in the stretch as they surged to the front but a stewards’ inquiry did not find either horse at fault.
Letsgetitonmon, Friesan Fire Work for Saturday Stakes
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 15, 2010) – Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s Letsgetitonmon, who closed well to finish third beaten two lengths for the win in Fair Grounds Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23, breezed a half-mile in 49.60 Monday morning at Fair Grounds in preparation for Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes – the final major designed prep for the Grade II $750,000 Louisiana Derby March 27.
Letsgetitonmon, a son of Maria’s Mon, is one of the more prominent sophomores conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen at Fair Grounds this season.
Maximus Ruler Out of Saturday’s Risen Star, plus Dominic Terry Injured Monday Morning
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 15, 2010) – Don Benge’s Maximus Ruler, runner-up behind Ron the Greek in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23, will not run in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes after coming up with a slight injury following a breeze Sunday morning at the New Orleans oval.
“He didn’t want to place his right hind foot down toe to heel when he was being walked yesterday afternoon,” said trainer Clark Hanna of Maximus Ruler Monday morning. “Usually, he walks very forwardly, but when we took his shoe off his foot seemed to be a little sensitive. We took some pictures and they came back clean, so we gave him some hot water therapy and some anti-inflammatory medication to take the soreness out, and he seems to be much, much better this morning (Monday). Now, we’re going play things by ear, and evaluate him for a few days. We’ll see how he does with no medication over the next 24 to 48 hours to make sure he’s okay.
Monday, February 15 2010
Paradise Bound Wins Valentine’s Day Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 14, 2010) – Live Oak Plantation’s Paradise Bound, allowed to settle just off the pace in Sunday’s $39,000 Fair Grounds feature for maiden fillies and mares, responded willingly when set down for the drive and drew off for a 1 3/4-length score in the race transferred from the Stall-Wilson turf course and run on the main track at a mile and a sixteenth.
Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and ridden by Pat Valenzuela, Paradise Bound returned mutuels of $24.60, $9 and $6, increased her career earnings to $40,203 with her first victory in five career starts, and accomplished the distance in 1:47.99.
Chantilly Nayla, Wicked Uno Vie in Tuesday’s Mardi Gras
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 14, 2010) – Salman Rashed’s Chantilly Nayla and Gold Mark Farm’s Wicked Uno are set to match strides as the 5-2 and 3-1 first and second choices, respectively, in the morning line for Tuesday’s $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds.
The 66th running of the Mardi Gras, as usual contested on the lone Tuesday racing day of the New Orleans season, is to be run at about five-and-one-half furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course and is now restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Maximus ruler gets sunday breeze for saturday’s risen star
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 14, 2010) – Don Benge’s Maximus Ruler, runner-up in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Jan. 23 after inheriting an unwanted pacesetting scenario, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 Sunday morning in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes as the showcase race on Louisiana Derby Preview Day.
“The idea is to get him to relax,” said trainer Clark Hanna, “so we broke him off at the half-mile pole this morning, let him go to the seven-eighths and then let him gallop out the rest of the way on his own. He came back bucking and squealing so we might want to send him out again to go a quarter-mile on Thursday just to keep him relaxed.