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Friday, March 23 2012


Latest Louisiana Derby and Fair Grounds Oaks Probables


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, March 23, 2012) – As Godolphin Racing updates its Alpha board with that son of Bernardini now headed to New York for his next start (but still not entirely out of the local picture), the field of promising of 3-year-olds now expected for Fair Grounds’ $1 million Louisiana Derby April 1 continues to expand while including some new very strong possibilities.

Jake Ballis’s Cigar Street, a dominant 13 3/4-length maiden winner earlier this month, galloped Friday morning instead of breezing as planned due to bad weather. Trainer Steve Margolis said Cigar Street would now work Saturday in his first set after the renovation break, which ends at 8:30 a.m. Margolis will not be present for the move, as he’ll be en route to Turfway Park in Kentucky, where his 3-year-old filly Toxis, owned by Dixiana Farms, is set to contest the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks. A decision on Cigar Street’s status for the Grade II Louisiana Derby will be made after Margolis returns to New Orleans.\





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Thursday, March 22 2012


ALPHA ONCE AGAIN POINTING FOR RESORTS WORLD CASINO NEW YORK CITY WOOD MEMORIAL


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With juvenile champion and Grade 3 Gotham winner Hansen now probable to make his next start in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, Grade 3 Withers victor Alpha is once again likely to compete in the Grade 1, $1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 7.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and owner Godolphin Racing have been mulling multiple options for Alpha, among them the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial, the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31, and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1. On Tuesday, McLaughlin said the colt was probable for the Louisiana Derby but today announced Alpha is expected to make his next start at Aqueduct.





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Inspired, Speedacious Vie in Saturday’s Happy Ticket


NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, March 22, 2012) – Peter Blum’s Inspired and Carl Moore’s Speedacious will each be putting win streaks on the line if they match strides in Saturday’s Fair Grounds feature – the 25th renewal of the $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes for older fillies and mares at about 5 1/2-furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

However, with the tumultuous rain storms hitting New Orleans hard enough to cancel Thursday’s Fair Grounds racing program, the Happy Ticket Stakes has a chance of being transferred to the main track.





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Thursday’s Racing Cancelled Due to Heavy Rain


NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, March 22, 2012) – Thursday’s live racing program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has been cancelled due to torrential rain. The state and track stewards made the final decision in consultation with Fair Grounds officials at 10:30 a.m. CDT.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Friday with a 10-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m. The Fair Grounds OTB and all 10 Fair Grounds OTB Casino locations remain open for simulcasting from tracks around the country and the Fair Grounds Slots facility is open for play on its 600 machines until midnight.





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Wednesday, March 21 2012


Nine Currently Known As Likely for Louisiana Derby


NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, March 21, 2012) – With final nominations to the $1 million Louisiana Derby having closed last Saturday on St. Patrick’s Day, Fair Grounds stakes coordinator Scott Jones was able to check off the names of nine prominent 3-year-olds on Wednesday morning as likely for the 99th running of the centerpiece of the 140th Thoroughbred Racing Season.

The Grade II Louisiana Derby will be contested on Sunday, April 1, closing day program of Fair Grounds’ current season. Supplementary nominations of $50,000 will be accepted at entry time on Monday, March 26.





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Alpha Likely, Mark Valeski Works and More


NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, March 20, 2012) – South Florida-based Alpha, easy winner of the Grade III Withers at Aqueduct on Feb. 4, is now considered probable for the $1 million Louisiana Derby (Gr. II) on April 1, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed today.

“The chances are very good that we’re coming that way,” McLaughlin said. “Simon Crisford [racing manager for Godolphin Racing] is the one who makes these decisions and we had talked yesterday, back and forth on e-mail, and we agreed that the Fair Grounds is a good spot. We will stay here in Florida and work this last time, make sure all is well for everybody going into the Florida Derby, and then we’ll enter at the Fair Grounds, most likely.”





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Monday, March 19 2012


Watch My Smoke Wins Sunday Feature


NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, March 18, 2012) – Maggi Moss’s Watch Me Smoke, allowed to settle early, commenced a rally entering the lane and drew off in the final furlong for four-length tally in Sunday’s $49,000 mile and 70 yard allowance and $17,500 optional claiming feature at Fair Grounds.

Trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the altered son of Leestown returned mutuels of $3.60, $2.40 and $2.40, increased his career earnings to $156,030 with his fifth victory in 17 lifetime starts and accomplished the distance in 1:42.41.





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Watch My Smoke Wins Thursday Feature


NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, March 18, 2012) – Maggi Moss’s Watch Me Smoke, allowed to settle early, commenced a rally entering the lane and drew off in the final furlong for four-length tally in Sunday’s $49,000 mile and 70 yard allowance and $17,500 optional claiming feature at Fair Grounds.

Trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the altered son of Leestown returned mutuels of $3.60, $2.40 and $2.40, increased his career earnings to $156,030 with his fifth victory in 17 lifetime starts and accomplished the distance in 1:42.41.





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Sunday, March 18 2012


Havre de Grace Rules New Orleans Ladies


NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, March 17, 2012) – Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace treated Fair Grounds guests to a shamrock-flavored shower of power Saturday, giving those on hand and racing fans all over the world a St. Patrick’s Day to remember with a facile 4 1/2-length victory as she made her 2012 debut in the third running of the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies.

Allowed to settle comfortably well off the pace in the run down the backstretch, the brilliant bay mare moved up to challenge the leaders approaching the stretch, took command before the furlong grounds and drew off with intermittent urging while touring the distance in 1:42.79 – posting the fastest 1 1/16-mile time at Fair Grounds since 2007.





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New Orleans Ladies (Havre de Grace)


Jockey Ramon Dominguez (Havre de Grace, winner): “We had a great trip. My main purpose was to try to keep her out of trouble. She was ready to run, as usual with all Larry Jones’ horses coming off of the layoff. She seems like she was definitely much the best on paper and she proved to be so today. I thought it was ‘mission accomplished’ first race back and she did great.

“We saved some ground going into the first turn and down the backside. I had a chance to get her in the clear and get her going and from then on she was on cruise control. When it was time to go I had to tap her a few times and she got into gear and it was easy from then on.”





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Saturday, March 17 2012


Wash Park Takes Starlight Feature


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, March 16, 2012) – Keith Plaisance’s favored Wash Park commenced a rally in mid-stretch outside the leaders and was up to be best by three-quarters of a length in Friday’s Starlight Racing feature at Fair Grounds.

As the headline event during the fifth of six such Starlight Racing programs in New Orleans this winter, Friday’s allowance and $62,500 optional entering event was contested at six furlongs and offered a purse of $53,000.





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Friday, March 16 2012


Horse of the Year Havre de Grace Favored in Saturday’s New Orleans Ladies


NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, March 15, 2012) – Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will make her long awaited 2012 debut Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots when she goes to the post as the prohibitive favorite in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies, becoming the second Horse of the Year in the last three seasons to use that Crescent City stakes test for older fillies and mares for her return to competition.

Havre de Grace, who has breezed six times at Fair Grounds since February 10 in preparation for her return, has accomplished all those moves impressively, never being asked for much but twice being timed in the fastest work of the morning at the distance.





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