Monday, November 30 2009
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.
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.
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.
Friday, November 27 2009
RACHEL ALEXANDRA ARRIVES SAFELY AT FAIR GROUNDS
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.”
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.
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.
Evolutionist Slight Choice in Wide-Open Woodchopper
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, November 26, 2009) – Kinsman Stable’s Evolutionist, a promising 3-year-old son of El Prado who appears headed for a future on grass, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line in Saturday’s $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The Woodchopper is scheduled for about one mile over the Stall-Wilson turf course and will be observing its 23rd running as Fair Grounds’ featured event this weekend.
Wednesday, November 25 2009
Jockey Theriot Looking Forward to Successful Meet
NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, November 25, 2009) – All eyes will be on Euroears when he serves as the headline horse in Thursday’s 84th running of Fair Grounds’ traditional Thanksgiving Day Handicap.
That’s because racing fans at Fair Grounds all remember the gallant sprinter’s winter season here two years ago when the Bret Calhoun trainee won four straight races locally, including the $100,000 F. W. Gaudin Stakes on the main track in January of 2008, the $100,000 Colonel Power that February over the Stall-Wilson turf course, and then completed his stakes troika by capturing the $100,000 Duncan Kenner back on the main track on Louisiana Derby Day that season.
Tuesday, November 24 2009
Lukas Bringing His ‘Twos-Turning-Threes’ to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (Monday, November 23, 2009) – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has 30 stalls at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite, entered two Marylou Whitney homebred fillies for Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving Day program—Bootless in the second race and Miner Bird in the seventh. Lukas’s first starter of the season, Lambeau Legend, appeared in Sunday’s seventh race and the trainer says his stable’s presence will increase gradually throughout the meet.
“Those on Thursday are fillies that we’re trying to find their level and hope that we have them well-placed,” Lukas said by phone Sunday morning. “The management of those types is very important. We hope that they’re competitive in those spots, but as the meet progresses our better horses will show up and we’ll have a good blend of claimers and maiden special weights.”
Monday, November 23 2009
Jays Wildcat Wins Juvenile Prep Sunday
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 22, 2009) – Harris Hughey’s Jays Wildcat pressed the pace briefly before taking command leaving the backstretch and then drew off late for a 1 1/2-length score in Sunday’s feature at Fair Grounds – a prep race for the upcoming $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Dec. 12.
The winner, a 2-year-old accredited Louisiana-bred trained by Sturges Ducoing, paid $10.60, $5 and $4.20 and toured the six furlongs in 1:11.65 after alternating for the lead briefly during early splits of 22.27 and 46.26. The son of Wildcat Shoes increased his career earnings to $53,813 with his second win in four lifetime starts.
Doughnut-Loving King of Speed Wins in 100th Start, and more
CAN TEMPO FIVE TRUMP THURSDAY’S THANKSGIVING HANDICAP RIVALS?
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 22, 2009) – Euroears vs. Sok Sok. Is Thursday’s 84th running of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap a two-horse race?
New Orleans native Tom Amoss, Fair Grounds nine-time trainer champion and the conditioner who will saddle Hunter Run Stable’s Tempo Five in Thursday’s Turkey Day feature, was asked that question Sunday morning during training, two days after arriving back home from Louisville in the waning days of Churchill Downs’ fall meeting.
Euroears Seeks Return to Glory in Thanksgiving Handicap
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 22, 2009) – Intriguing Euroears, easily the most consistent quality Thoroughbred to race during the Fair Grounds season two years ago, seeks a return to that glory in Thursday’s 84th running of Fair Grounds’ tradition-rich $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap. Owned by James and Marilyn Helzer and trained by Bret Calhoun, Euroears has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for Thursday’s six-furlong sprint.
During the many years that Thanksgiving Day coincided with opening day at Fair Grounds, the Thanksgiving Handicap was the much anticipated feature that attracted hoards of New Orleanians to the nation’s third-oldest race course. Thanksgiving no longer opens the season, but the crowds still pack the Clubhouse and the Grandstand for an afternoon of holiday racing that makes for a special New Orleans tradition. First post for the 10-race program is 12:40 p.m. with Race 8, the Thanksgiving Handicap, set for 4:13 p.m. CST. As of Sunday, only a handful of tables remain available in the Black Gold Room for the Thanksgiving Day buffet (call 504-943-2200 to make your reservation).