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.

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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.

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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.

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Tuesday, December 01 2009

Macho Again Back in Town

NEW ORLEANS (Monday, November 30, 2009) – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again, defending champion from Fair Grounds’ Grade II New Orleans Handicap last March and also hero of Churchill’s Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap last June, arrived back at Fair Grounds before dawn Monday morning and was enjoying a bath outside trainer Dallas Stewart’s barn as training hours ended.

“He arrived back from Louisville safe and sound,” Stewart said as he held the handsome gray/roan colt’s shank while the bath was completed, “and ‘Amen’ to that. He’s doing fine. Maybe we can go for a repeat this season.”

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Monday, November 30 2009

where’s cain in front in Sunday’s fair grounds feature

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 29, 2009) – Edward Johnston Racing Stables’ Where’s Cain proved no disappointment to the fans who backed him down to 5-2 favoritism when he won Sunday’s Fair Grounds feature by one length.

“He was at the top of his game today,” said winning jockey John Jacinto after the race, although trainer Johnston was quick to dismiss any thoughts of running him on Louisiana Champions Day Dec. 12.

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NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 29, 2009) – She’s coming off a great summer at Louisiana Downs where she enjoyed a 30 percent win ratio, and the only question now is how long trainer Michelle Lovell will remain under the radar at Fair Grounds.

In Saturday’s Woodchopper Stakes here, Lovell saddled Agave Racing Stable’s Marquee Event as the longest shot on the board at better than 15-1, but the altered son of Marquetry made the pace, could not stay with odds-on favorite Evolutionist, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, in the final furlong but gamely held the place.

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La. Derby Early Bird Noms Due Dec. 14

NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 29, 2009) – Early Bird nominations for the March 27 Grade II, $750,000 Louisiana Derby Presented by Miller Lite close Dec. 14. A nomination to the Louisiana Derby also serves as a nomination to the first two races in the Road to the Derby series, the Grade III, $300,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 20 and the Grade III, $100,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 23.

Any horse that starts in both the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby and finishes among the top three in either race will have its $25,000 starting fee waived for the Kentucky Derby.

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Sunday, November 29 2009

Evolutionist Emerges as Expected with Woodchopper Win

NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, November 28, 2009) – Odds-on Evolutionist, owned by the Kinsman Farm of George M. Steinbrenner III and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, was allowed to settle behind the longshot pacesetter Marquee Event, took command from that one inside the furlong grounds and then drew clear for a 2 1/2-length tally in Saturday’s $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes at about one mile over a firm Stall-Wilson turf course at Fair Grounds.

Irish-born jockey James Graham rode the winner, who returned $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10, toured the distance in 139.39 and brought his career earnings to $120,258 with his third victory in 11 lifetime starts.

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La. Derby Winner Friesan Fire Returns to Action in Thursday Feature

NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, November 28, 2009) – Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire, hero of the Grade II Louisiana Derby last March and post time favorite for last spring’s Kentucky Derby, returns to the scene of his greatest triumph Thursday when he heads a field of six older horses in the $50,000 featured race of the day at Fair Grounds.

The 3-year-old son of A. P. Indy, only the third horse in local history to sweep the Lecomte, the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby – Fair Grounds’ big three races for sophomores – has been away from competition since last spring’s Preakness Stakes on May 16, where he bobbled at the start, flashed brief speed but quickly faded to finish 10th at the wire.

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Friday, November 27 2009


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, November 27, 2009) – Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick’s Rachel Alexandra arrived at her winter base, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, without incident late Friday afternoon. The possible Horse of the Year traveled from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to New Orleans aboard a Sallee Horse Vans trailer along with four of her stablemates.

“She’s okay,” trainer Steve Asmussen said outside his Fair Grounds barn shortly after Rachel Alexandra was settled in a stall. “She just found her a spot [in the trailer] and stayed there, very comfortable.”

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A She’s Adorable Wins Friday’s Feature

NEW ORLEANS (Friday, November 27, 2009) – Philip Maas’ A She’s Adorable pressed the pace, took command in mid-stretch and then drew clear for a three-length win in Friday’s Fair Grounds feature – a $45,000 allowance test restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.

Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. and trained by Mike Stidham, A She’s Adorable paid $10.20, $6.40 and $4.60, toured the about 1 1/16-mile distance over the firm Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:45.96 and increased her career earnings to $43,600 with her second victory in three lifetime starts.

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Euroears Carves Impressive Win in Thanksgiving Handicap

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, November 26, 2009) – James and Marilyn Helzer’s sensational sprinter Euroears returned to his Fair Grounds form of two seasons ago when he dispatched six solid rivals with ease in Thursday’s tradition-rich Thanksgiving Handicap at the Crescent City oval.

“Euroears is back – unfortunately,” said rival trainer Tom Amoss, who saddled Hunter Run Stable’s Tempo Five to finish second, beaten a length and a half by Euroears Thursday, and that might have been the most succinct description of New Orleans’ annual Turkey Day feature.

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