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Monday, January 11 2010


Maximus Ruler Readies for Grade III Lecomte Jan. 23, plus Apprentice Groth Gets First Local Win


NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 10, 2010)—Don Benge’s Maximus Ruler, the 3-year-old Roman Ruler colt that broke his maiden in a two-turn allowance race at Churchill Downs Nov. 28, is probable for the upcoming Grade III Lecomte Stakes Jan. 23, trainer Clark Hanna confirmed Saturday.

The Lecomte, which carries a $100,000 purse, is the first leg of Fair Grounds’ sophomore series that concludes with the 97th running of the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, and this spring’s Louisiana Derby will become the richest race ever run in Louisiana with its increased purse of $750,000.





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Sunday, January 10 2010


Hallway Defeats ‘Wheat’ by a Whisker in Dixie Poker Ace


NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, January 9, 2010) – Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Hallway and odds-on favorite Desert Wheat both launched late bids in the stretch run of Saturday’s $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes at Fair Grounds, but it was the overlooked Hallway, trained by Eclipse-Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, who proved best by a nose at the wire.

“He’s a horse that tries pretty hard all the time,” said Bridgmohan of Hallway after posting his second win of the afternoon. “His last race was his first time out in quite a while and he got a little tired, but this time when that other horse came to him he just dug in a little harder at the wire.”





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Friday, January 08 2010


Daddy Forty Nine, Walking the Beach Will Look for Allowance Spot


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 08, 2010) – Three-year-olds Daddy Forty Nine and Walking the Beach are unlikely to move on to the Jan. 23 Grade III Lecomte Stakes, the first race in Fair Grounds’ Road to the Derby series, after finishing out of the money in Sunday’s allowance feature won by Stay Put.

Trainer Tom Amoss attempted to take the blame for Daddy Forty Nine’s even sixth-place finish, in which the Ghostzapper gelding was in a suitable striking position entering the stretch but flattened out in the final quarter-mile.





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Gentle Moment Wins Friday Feature


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 08, 2010) – Ragin Cajun Stable’s Gentle Moment, always well placed, launched a sustained bid when set down for the drive to win Friday’s $47,000 Fair Grounds six-furlong allowance feature restricted to Louisiana-breds by an expanding 5 1 /4-length margin.

Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, scoring his second win of the afternoon, Gentle Moment paid $18, $6.60 and $6, toured the three-quarter mile distance in 1:11.13 and increased his career earnings to $57,149 with his second win in six lifetime starts. Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen is the conditioner of the winner.





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Desert Wheat Strong Choice in Saturday’s Dixie Poker Ace


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 08, 2010) – Desert Wheat, the 7-year-old Louisiana-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and owned by Wachtel Stables, Brous Stables and Jerry Lee, has been installed as the 7-5 morning line choice in Saturday’s Fair Grounds feature – the 30th running of the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds at about one mile over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

In his last trip to the post Dec. 19, Desert Wheat won his second $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf scoring by four lengths three years after his initial tally in that test. In last year’s Dixie Poker Ace, Desert Wheat finished fourth after winning that race in 2007. The son of Wheaton has also posed in the winner’s circle in the last two renewals of Fair Grounds’ Mr. Sulu Stakes.





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Tuesday, January 05 2010


Stay Put May Await Risen Star if ‘Bullet’ Fires at Lecomte


NEW ORLEANS (Monday, January 04, 2010) – Trainer Steve Margolis and his tight-knit crew were awarded “Barn of the Month” honors Saturday at Fair Grounds, but after Sunday’s 10th race Margolis also became “man of the hour” when his highly regarded 3-year-old prospect Stay Put, owned by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein, scored a decisive one-length tally in a race with possible long-range Louisiana Derby implications.

That’s because less than an hour earlier (59 minutes to be exact) Margolis had reached the winner’s circle with What’s New – another sophomore owned by the Klein family who broke his maiden impressively by two lengths in Sunday’s eighth race.





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Monday, January 04 2010


Sophomore Hopefuls Stay Put, Quiet Temper Win Sunday


NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 03, 2010) – Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Stay Put joined the list of Steve Margolis-trained sophomores who have passed their latest tests on the road to the Grade II, $750,000 Louisiana Derby by coming from last place to win Sunday’s $45,000 allowance optional claiming feature by one length in impressive fashion while going a mile and 40 yards.

Earlier in the day, Mark Stanley’s 3-year-old filly Quiet Temper made similar strides toward the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks with a dominant front-running performance in a race with similar conditions but restricted to members of the distaff set.





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Sunday, January 03 2010


Category Seven Wins Furl Sail Following Disqualification


NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, January 02, 2010) – James Perron Racing Stable’s Category Seven, overlooked by Fair Grounds racing fans in Saturday’s $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap, ended up paying win mutuels of $34.40, $14.60 and $6.60 following a disqualification of Team Block’s Never Retreat, who was first under the wire a neck in front of the eventual winner.

Trained by Kenneth Hargrave and ridden by Richard Eramia, Category Seven came from far back to move for the lead at the eighth pole, but was carried out by Never Retreat in the final furlong despite corrective action by Never Retreat’s rider James Graham.





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Friday, January 01 2010


Tears of Jupiter Wins on New Year’s Day


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 01, 2010) – Tears of Jupiter, owned by Media Thoroughbred Group and trained by Eric Heitzmann, benefited from a patient, late-charging ride by jockey Curt Bourque to win Friday’s $45,000 allowance feature at Fair Grounds, contested at about five and a half furlongs over a Stall-Wilson turf course rated “good.”

Finishing second a length behind the winner was another late runner – Gale Springer and Gabe Grossberg’s True Brew – who bested pace-pressing Freyja by a half-length at the wire.





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Noble’s Promise, Piscitelli, Dublin, Backtalk Lead La. Derby Early Bird Noms


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 1, 2010) – New Year’s Day in New Orleans means more than cabbage and black-eyed peas. It also marks the official birthday of all registered Thoroughbred racehorses, including the newly turned 3-year-olds eligible for the Grade II, $750,000 Louisiana Derby on March 27 and, ultimately, the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Fifty-seven promising 3-year-olds comprise the Early Bird nominations for the Louisiana Derby, which closed December 14. Among them are a number of impressive winners from the first two months of Fair Grounds’ 138th Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite, such as Bravo Whiskey, a sharp debut winner on Dec. 14 for trainer Neil Howard; Miles Heir, an effortless maiden special weight winner on Dec. 5 for Steve Asmussen; Stay Put, a game maiden special weight winner in the slop on Dec. 7 for Steve Margolis; and Wow Wow Wow, winner of the meet’s first two-turn maiden special weight on dirt for foals of 2007 on Nov. 28, trained by D. Wayne Lukas.





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Red Rally and The Rumor’s True Prevail in Divisions of Louisiana Futurity


NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 31, 2009) – Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Red Rally broke in full stride to make all the pace and increased the margin to six lengths at the wire when winning Thursday’s colts and gelding division of Fair Grounds’ $109,445 Louisiana Futurity as the 3-10 fan favorite.

“I couldn’t believe he got away like that,” said Merrill Scherer, who trains the horse for his owner-partners. “I’ll put him on the shelf for awhile, probably three or four months. I’ve run him hard this year and he deserves a break.”





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Much Obliged Strong Choice in Saturday’s Furl Sail Handicap


NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 31, 2009) – Pin Oak Stable’s Much Obliged, odds-on winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap on opening day Nov. 6, looms as a strong 8-5 morning line choice once again when she heads a field of 11 grass-favoring fillies and mares – including an entry – in Saturday’s 37th renewal of the $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course

The daughter of Kingmambo will shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds Saturday, most of which will be made up by jockey Francisco Torres. She finished a close third, beaten only a head for the win, in Woodbine’s Grade II Canadian Stakes at previous asking Sept. 20.





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