Saturday, December 12 2009
Kentucky Oaks Runner-Up Stone Legacy Wins at FG
NEW ORLEANS (Friday, December 11, 2009) – Mary Lou Whitney’s Stone Legacy, runner-up to Fair Grounds-based Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra in last spring’s Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since breaking her maiden at Oaklawn last February when she captured Fair Grounds $45,000 Friday feature by 3 1/4-lengths as the 7 to 10 choice of the fans.
Ridden by last season’s Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Stone Legacy came from off the pace to be clearly best, increased her career earnings to $225,651 with her second win in 15 lifetime starts and toured the mile and 40-yard distance in 1:42.90. The homebred daughter of Birdstone paid mutuels of $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10 to her many backers.
Heiligbrodts to Enjoy La. Champions Day, plus Evelyn Benoit on Star Guitar and Tab Benoit
NEW ORLEANS (Friday, December 11, 2009) – Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt – last season’s Fair Grounds owner champions – were on their way from their home in Houston, Texas, to New Orleans when reached by cell phone en route Friday morning and will be in attendance at Fair Grounds for Louisiana Champions Day on Saturday.
“It’s about a four-hour drive, so we expect we’ll be at the races today as well as for Champions Day tomorrow,” said Bill Heiligbrodt Friday. “I think we’ve been to every Champions Day since they started having them. Let me put it this way—if they didn’t have Louisiana racing we wouldn’t be in racing at all. We’ve been the leading owners at Delta Downs and Louisiana Downs as well as Fair Grounds last season, and we have three stallions standing in Louisiana, but more than that, we live for the Fair Grounds meet. We have a lot of fun just being over there with you because everyone over there always treats us so well.”
Friday, December 11 2009
Sky at Sunrise Wins Thursday Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 10, 2009) – Robert Lister’s Sky At Sunrise, who made the pace most of the way but was briefly headed in mid-stretch, continued willingly in the final furlong to win Thursday’s $45,000 featured sprint at Fair Grounds by a nose.
The winner set early splits of 22.27 and 45.41 before getting the final 5 1/2-furlong distance in 1:04.21 in the race for fillies and mares taken off the grass and run on the main track, increased her career earnings to $48,072 with her second victory in three lifetime starts and paid $8.40 $4.60 and $2.80.
Fair Grounds Hosts 19th Louisiana Champions Day Saturday
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 10, 2009) – Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar and Jac Mac Stable’s Superior Storm will each be going for their third wins on a Louisiana Champions Day program at Fair Grounds this Saturday – and if both are successful they will join Dixie Poker Ace and Mr. Sulu as the only horses to win three times in the 19-year history of the local program restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds.
Louisiana Champions Day is a betting bonanza, with 126 horses entered for 12 races, 11 of which are stakes worth $1.1 million for the top Louisiana-breds in training. First post is 12:30 p.m. CST.
Wednesday, December 09 2009
Saturday’s La. Champions Day to Showcase Star Guitar and Superior Storm, plus Week 5 Recap and more
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, December 08, 2009) – Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar appears poised to become the third Thoroughbred in history to win three times on a Louisiana Champions Day program in New Orleans, assuming he lives up to his star billing in Saturday’s 19th running of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds.
“The older he gets, the better and stronger he’s getting,” said trainer Al Stall Jr. this week of the homebred 4-year-old son of Quiet American who won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile in 2007 and the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint in 2008.
Filly & Mare Stakes Race Named “New Orleans Ladies”; FG Hoping to Attract Rachel Alexandra
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, December 8, 2009) – A $200,000 stakes race for fillies and mares at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on March 13 has been named the New Orleans Ladies, the track announced today. The 1 1/16-mile contest is one of many options for the connections of super-filly and Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra to consider as they plot her first race of 2010. Last season Rachel Alexandra was an easy winner of Fair Grounds’ richest race for fillies, the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, which was run at 1 /16 miles on the main track.
“We’re delighted to have perhaps the greatest racehorse in the world training over our surface again this winter,” said Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager Eric Halstrom. “Our hope is that once Rachel Alexandra is ready for a race she won’t have to travel any farther than the 100 yards from her stall door to our track. We’ll be cheering for her wherever she goes, but we would love to see her run here in New Orleans.”
Tuesday, December 08 2009
Graham Rides Four Winners, Ide Better Win Takes Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, December 07, 2009) – Irish-born jockey James Graham became the first jockey to ride four winners on the same program this season at Fair Grounds on Monday when he captured the final event on the nine-race program astride Just Another Girl, who returned a $10.40 win mutuel.
Graham began his lucky “four-leaf clover” by riding Built to Precision in the opener for a $15.60 payoff, and came right back in the second half of the Daily Double with Pretty Drink, who paid $2.80. Graham returned to the winner’s circle after the fifth aboard Glittermans Cartel and then achieved his four-bagger in the last race of the afternoon.
FG Leading Trainer Asmssen Sets North American Wins Record
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, December 07, 2009) – Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, who bases his extensive operation at Fair Grounds throughout the New Orleans winter Thoroughbred racing season, broke his own record for number of North American wins in a single calendar year when Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Poppin won the 13th race at Canada’s Woodbine Race Course Sunday evening to give Asmussen his 623rd winner in 2009.
Fittingly, owners Ludolph and Corrine Heiligbrodt of Heiligbrodt Racing were Fair Grounds’ leading owners last season.
Monday, December 07 2009
Star Guitar Tunes Up for Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, December 06, 2009) – Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar, easily the “star” attraction for Saturday’s 19th running of the Louisiana Champions Day program at Fair Grounds, was given a routine maintenance breeze Sunday morning at the Crescent City oval, getting the half-mile distance in 51.20.
The accredited Louisiana-bred won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile here two years ago, and then came back to take down winning honors in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint last season. This Saturday, the homebred colt will be trying for a third state-bred title in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, the feature race on a card comprised of 11 stakes worth $1.1 million.
Sunday, December 06 2009
Akilina Fights Back to Win Thrilling Pago Hop
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, December 05, 2009) – Proving no disappointment to the fans who backed her down to 11-10 favoritism, Oak Bluff Stables’ Akilina came from off the pace to gain the advantage in mid-stretch and prevail by a head in Saturday’s featured $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds.
The daughter of Langfuhr trained by Christophe Clement shipped to New Orleans from Florida, toured the about one mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course rated “soft” in 1:40.03, returned mutuels of $4.20, $2.80 and $2.20 and increased her career earnings to $246,310 with her sixth victory in 13 lifetime starts.
Free Horse Ownership Seminar On the Rail Dec. 19
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, December 5, 2009) – Trainer Bret Calhoun and owner Angus Lind will meet with fans at a free Horse Ownership Seminar hosted by Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place along the grandstand apron, just outside the Derby Building and the new Horsemen’s Relations office.
“Many fans don’t realize how easy it can be to get involved with owning racehorses,” said Fair Grounds vice president and general manager of racing Eric Halstrom. “A competitive racehorse at Fair Grounds can be bought for as little as $5,000, and you can get as many partners as you want to share the cost.”
Saturday, December 05 2009
‘Rachel’ Continues Jogging, Risen Star Stakes Now a Gr. II, Albarado Back Home and more
NEW ORLEANS (Friday, December 04, 2009) – Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra jogged once the “wrong” way around the Fair Grounds oval Friday morning about 9:30 a.m., accompanied by a pony with assistant trainer Scott Blasi and trailed from about 10 yards behind by trainer Steve Asmussen, supervising the exercise aboard his pony.
“Very athletic, looks beautiful,” is how Asmussen described Rachel Alexandra’s appearance on the track.