Tuesday, January 19 2010

Turf Melody, Maximus Ruler, Cool Bullet Vie in Saturday’s Lecomte

NEW ORLEANS (Monday, January 18, 2010) – Fair Grounds’ “Road to the Derby” series gets underway this weekend in New Orleans when Sugar Bowl Stakes winner Cool Bullet and local buzz horse Maximus Ruler get their stiffest tests to date – facing two stakes winners based on the East Coast as well as seven others in the Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes.

As the first local Grade II Louisiana Derby prep, the $100,000 Lecomte is the centerpiece event among six stakes races Saturday. However, also highlighted is the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley for older horses on the Stall-Wilson turf course, the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap for older horses on the main track, and the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes for 3-year-old fillies as the initial leg of the series that leads to the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. Two $75,000 sprint stakes, the Gaudin Memorial on the main track and the Dr. Leggio Memorial on the grass, complete the stakes portion of the 13-race program.

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Monday, January 18 2010

Clear Sailing Much the Best in Sunday Feature

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 17, 2010) – Coteau Grove Farm’s Clear Sailing, away alertly and quickly in command, responded to clever rating throughout under veteran jockey Shane Sellers in Sunday’s $45,000 Fair Grounds feature for fillies and mares at a mile and 40 yards and drew off to tally by 8 3/4-lengths without urging by the rider.

The daughter of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, trained by Glenn Delahoussaye, increased her career earnings to $56,940 with her second win in three career starts and paid $3, $2.40 and $2.10, accomplishing the distance in 1:42.69 after making early fractions of 25.30 and 50.22. In her local bow, Clear Sailing broke her maiden by four and a quarter lengths here on Dec. 28.

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Fair Grounds Resident Rachel Alexandra Up for Horse of the Year Monday

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 17, 2010) – Superstar filly Rachel Alexandra, undefeated in eight starts as a 3-year-old including an unforgettable win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, could be named Horse of the Year at the annual Eclipse Awards ceremony Monday night in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Currently stabled at Fair Grounds in trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn, Stonestreet Stables’ Rachel Alexandra is one of two finalists for the Horse of the Year honor, along with older mare Zenyatta, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park in November to remain undefeated in her own storied career.

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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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