Monday, February 15 2010

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.

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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.

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Sunday, February 14 2010

Hotep, General Quarters, Jody Slew Get Preview Day Works

NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, February 13, 2010) – Two prominent 3-year-old colts pointing toward Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 20 were given their last significant works Saturday morning in advance of next weekend’s final major prep for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.

Sam-Son Farms’ Hotep, a full brother to last year’s Grade I Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 flat Saturday morning in a move that met with trainer Mark Frostad’s full approval.

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Saturday, February 13 2010

Handleman wins friday feature at fair grounds

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, February 12, 2010) – Gold Square LLC’s Handleman made the pace and increased his margin in the final furlong to win Friday’s $41,000 six-furlong allowance sprint at Fair Grounds by three-and-a-quarter lengths at the wire.

The winner, trained by Steve Margolis and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. returned mutuels of $5.60, $3.20 and $2.20, increased his career earnings to $92,040 with his second victory in eight lifetime starts, and toured the distance in 1:10.95 over muddy going after setting early fractions of 22.10 and 45.84.

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NEW ORLEANS (Friday, February 12, 2010) – Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra is due to run at Fair Grounds in the New Orleans Ladies March 13, but well before that – on Feb. 20 – the Crescent City oval hosts Louisiana Derby Preview Day, featuring six stakes races on the same day, four of which are graded.

Serving as the centerpiece of next weekend’s all-star afternoon is the 37th running of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes, which with its new higher grading and richer purse of $300,000 is sure to attract some of the nation’s top 3-year-olds as the final local prep for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27.

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Rachel Alexandra Drills in Drizzling Rain Friday

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, February 12, 2010) – Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, aiming once again for an anticipated confrontation with her older rival Zenyatta in Oaklawn’s Grade I Apple Blossom April 9, worked Friday morning at Fair Grounds in advance of her scheduled seasonal bow March 13 in the $200,000 New Orleans Ladies at the Crescent City oval.

“We worked a couple of horses Thursday and the track was sealed very well, so we went ahead with her work this morning,” said Scott Blasi, cornerstone assistant to Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen, of Rachel Alexandra’s five-furlong move accomplished in 1:03.80 over the race track rated sloppy. “She galloped out well. We wanted to keep her in her rhythm. We wanted to stay in our routine. I was very happy with how she was moving.”

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Friday, February 12 2010

Rachel Alexandra Pointing to March 13 New Orleans Ladies

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, February 11, 2010) – Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will make her 4-year-old debut in the March 13 New Orleans Ladies, assuming she continues to progress as expected, owner Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables confirmed Thursday. The $200,000 New Orleans Ladies is for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

“That is our intended goal,” Jackson said by phone Thursday evening. “I believe she’s on schedule and she’ll get the prep race before she goes on to Oaklawn. There are other tracks that have offered to have us go, but right now we’d rather stay here.”

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Thursday, February 11 2010

Starlight Racing Returns Feb. 19 With Bucktown Allstars

NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, January 10, 2010) – Following a successful January debut that packed the Miller Beer Garden chalet with young professionals seeking drink specials and charbroiled oysters, Starlight Racing returns to Fair Grounds for its second installment Friday, February 19, at 5 p.m.

Starlight Racing brings a new upscale nightlife option to the city with specialty drinks in the trackside Miller Beer Garden, live music by the Bucktown Allstars, world famous charbroiled oysters from Drago’s, additional specialty fare from Messina’s and, of course, nine live Thoroughbred races to watch and wager on.

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ALBANY -- A talented field of sprinters will be showcased at Golden Gate Fields Thursday when the track begins a five-day racing week that will conclude with a special holiday program on Monday.

Post time Thursday through Monday, Presidents' Day, is 12:45 p.m.

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Monday, February 08 2010

Friesan Fire and General Quarters Headed for Rematch, plus Giant Oak, Rachel Alexandra and more

NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 08, 2010) – Fair Grounds’ upcoming Grade III Mineshaft Handicap on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 20 is shaping up as one of the most anticipated races of the season – no matter who ships in from out of town.

That’s because it appears that last year’s Grade II Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire and last year’s Grade I Blue Grass hero General Quarters are headed for a second battle in New Orleans at the Crescent City oval.

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However, although he is now a Canadian citizen and makes his home in Toronto, he has grown to love N

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 07, 2010) – Live Oak Plantation’s Successful Mission won Sunday’s $42,500 feature at Fair Grounds in what New Orleans native hunch players hoped would be prescient of a victory by the New Orleans Saints some hours later in Super Bowl XLIV.

After being allowed to settle early, Successful Mission responded outside the leaders when set down for the drive and just got up by a nose in the last jump.

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Patrick Husbands Back in Big Easy, plus Pat Day Autograph Session Feb. 20

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 07, 2010) – Canadian-based jockey Patrick Husbands accepted his third straight Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion jockey in ceremonies in Toronto a little over a week ago, then on Saturday he rode three horses at Fair Grounds, winning with one, finishing second on another and third on the other to start off his local winter with a perfect in-the-money percentage.

Actually, the 36-year-old native of Barbados is four-for-four in the money with his last four New Orleans mounts because he won with the only horse he rode here last season before being called to Southern California. Also, he has now won a total of seven Sovereign Awards in his 14-year career – more than any other jockey in the history of Thoroughbred racing north of the border.

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