Monday, January 18 2010

Col. Bradley, Louisiana ‘cap, tiffany lass fields shaping up

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 17, 2010) – As always, the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, first leg of Fair Grounds’ sophomore series that culminates in the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 27, will be the headline attraction of this Saturday’s “Road to the Derby” card at the Crescent City oval, but probable starters slated for Saturday’s Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap, $75,000 Louisiana Handicap, and $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes also lend promise to an exciting afternoon of racing.

Those considered likely for two other sprint stakes this Saturday – the $75,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial and the $75,000 Dr. A. B. Leggio Memorial – underline the challenging handicapping angles of the day.

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Saturday, January 16 2010

Starlight Racing Lights Up New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, January 15, 2010) – The first of three Starlight Racing programs at Fair Grounds this season on Friday night had track management describing the event as successful beyond expectations – and that was despite increasingly rainy weather and a temporary late afternoon local power outage that caused a one-hour delay before the first race of the evening.

“If you had told me that with the rain and the power outage we would still have this many people I wouldn’t have believed you,” Fair Grounds president Austin Miller said midway through the racing program. “It is probably double the average Friday crowd.

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Thursday, January 14 2010

Jackson Memorial, Happy Ticket Stakes Featured Saturday

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, January 14, 2010) – The 38th running of the $60,000 Happy Ticket Stakes, a five-and-one-half-furlong sprint restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, and the fourth running of the $60,000 John E. Jackson Jr. Memorial Stakes, open to all accredited older Louisiana-breds, are the co-featured highlights of Saturday’s 10-race program at Fair Grounds.

In the Happy Ticket, Southern Equine Stables’ Cajun Conference, second in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint at last asking Dec. 19, has been installed as the slight 5-2 choice in the morning line over Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Sax Appeal, who has been absent from competition since finishing third in the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare sprint last Aug. 1 and is pegged at as the Happy Ticket’s second choice at 3-1.

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Starlight Racing Will Shine in Any Weather

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, January 14, 2010) – After days of abnormally low temperatures in New Orleans, warmer weather has settled over the Crescent City just in time for Fair Grounds’ initial Starlight Racing Program Friday night – the first of three such nighttime racing programs scheduled for the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season at the nation’s third-oldest racecourse.

Local weather forecasters say that along with the warmer temperatures there is also some chance of rain Friday, but Fair Grounds has prepared for that – assuring that the party will go on rain or shine and that partygoers will be completely protected from the eleme

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Tuesday, January 12 2010

sean lafitte wins GATE-to-wire monday at fair grounds

NEW ORLEANS (Monday, January 11, 2010) – Valene Farms’ Sean Lafitte broke in stride to make the pace and continued with good courage in the stretch to win Monday’s $47,000 Fair Grounds feature by three lengths.

Ridden by Pat Valenzuela and trained by Sturges Ducoing, the Louisiana-bred gelding paid $24.60, $11.20 and $6.20 and toured the mile and 40 yard distance of the race taken off the turf and run on the main track in 1:42.86 after recording early fractions of 24.63 and 49.61. Sean Lafitte increased his career earnings to $81,417 with his second victory in 13 lifetime starts.

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Monday, January 11 2010

Caspian Wins Sunday’s Sprint Feature

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 10, 2010) – Away alertly and quickly in command, S N R Investment’s Caspian continued willingly throughout and withstood a late bid by Maggi Moss’s Free Brave to win Sunday’s $47,000 5 1/2-furlong sprint feature at Fair Grounds by one length.

Trained by Mike Stidham and ridden by Jamie Theriot, Caspian paid $6.60, $3.40 and $2.60 and increased his career earnings to $94,270 with his third win in 10 lifetime starts. The 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat accomplished the distance in the sprint taken off the turf and run on the fast main track in 1:04.80 after setting early splits of 22.78 and 46.27.

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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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