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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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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