Friday, December 11 2009
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.
Friday, December 04 2009
La. Derby Winner Friesan Fire’s Comeback Upset by Good and Lucky in Thursday Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 03, 2009) – Last season’s Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire, owned by Vinery Stable and Fox Hill Farm and now conditioned by Steve Asmussen, returned to competition Thursday in Fair Grounds’ feature but finished third as the odds-on choice, delaying Asmussen’s run at his own record for most North American wins by any trainer in a given calendar year.
Thursday’s Fair Grounds headliner was won by Laconian Racing Stable, Steve Organ and Josie Carroll’s Good and Lucky, three lengths the best and familiar to Fair Grounds fans for winning last season’s $75,000 Louisiana Handicap. Ridden by Shane Sellers – scoring his third win of the afternoon – the 6-year-old gelding was allowed to settle, took command entering the lane and quickly drew clear, returning mutuels of $12, $5.60 and $2.60 while accomplishing the 1 mile and 40-yard distance in 1:40.28. Good and Lucky, also trained by Carroll, increased his career earnings to $483,915 with his 10th win in 28 lifetime trips to the post.
Akilina, Elision Vie in Saturday’s Pago Hop
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 03, 2009) – Oak Bluff Stables’ Akilina, an invader from New York who finished third in Aqueduct’s $65,000 Flitalong Stakes at last asking Nov. 18, has been installed as the 3-1 morning line choice in Saturday’s 24th running of the $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes for sophomore fillies over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.
Trained by French-born Christophe Clement, internationally known as a top conditioner of grass runners, Akilina won her two previous outings in October at Belmont, including a three-length tally in an overnight stakes restricted to New York-breds. Shaun Bridgmohan has been named to ride the homebred daughter of the good grass sire Langfuhr. Clement won the 2003 Pago Hop with Howard Spinks’ Snowdrops.
Wednesday, December 02 2009
22 Stakes in December as Racing Expands to Five Days Per Week
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, December 1, 2009) – Twenty-two stakes races, an average of more than one per live racing day, will make December one of the busiest months of the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. As racing expands to five days per week for the remainder of the calendar year, upcoming highlights include the return of 2009 Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire on Thursday, the annual Louisiana Champions Day card with 11 stakes on Dec. 12 and Santa Super Saturday with five stakes (and a special appearance by author and handicapper Steve Davidowitz) on Dec. 19.