Friday, February 17 2012
Tonto Fontenot Wins Thursday Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, February 16, 2012) – Stacey Moak’s Tonto Fontenot, away alertly and always well placed, took command at the furlong grounds and drew off as the Lone Ranger at the wire in Thursday’s $51,000 Fair Grounds feature, an allowance and $40,000 optional claiming event run at a mile and 70 yards.
Trained by Bobby Barnett and ridden by Shane Sellers, Tonto Fontenot accomplished the distance in 1:43.11, increased his career earnings to $107,326 with his fourth lifetime win in 20 career starts and returned mutuels of $8.80, $3 and $2.80.
PANTS ON FIRE set to RETURN TO FG ONE LEG AT A TIME
NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, February 16, 2012) – George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire, hero of last season’s $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, is being pointed toward a return to the Crescent City to contest Fair Grounds’ Grade III Mineshaft Handicap Feb. 25.
The $125,000 Mineshaft, for older horses at 1 1/16-miles over the main track, is one of six stakes worth a total of $885,000 (including the Grade II Risen Star Stakes for 3-year-olds of Triple Crown potential) that will be contested on a day that is billed as Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.
Thursday, February 16 2012
Castellano to Ride El Padrino in Risen Star
NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 15, 2012) – Red-hot reinsman Javier Castellano, who introduced himself to Fair Grounds fans on Louisiana Derby Preview Day two years ago by winning two of the four graded stakes contested that afternoon, will return to the local oval Feb. 25 to ride Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino for trainer Todd Pletcher in the 2012 Grade II, $300,000 Risen Star Stakes.
The 34-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, who won the 2010 Risen Star on E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Discreetly Mine and the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap that same afternoon on Anstu Stable’s Blues Street, returned to the Crescent City five weeks later that season to win that year’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial with Blues Street and the Grade II New Orleans Handicap with Overbrook Farm’s Battle Plan on Louisiana Derby Day.
Wednesday, February 15 2012
Havre de Grace Breezes Half-Mile in :48 3/5
NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 15, 2012) – Horse of the Year Havre de Grace breezed a half-mile in :48 3/5 Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, her second official workout in advance of her 2012 debut.
The 5-year-old mare, owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, was among the first horses on the track when training hours began at 6 a.m. and once again posted the first timed move of the morning. Working from the half-mile pole to the finish line with exercise rider Jen Brasser aboard, Fair Grounds clockers recorded splits of :12 3/5, :24 2/5 and :36 1/5, as well as a five-eighths gallop out time of 1:04 2/5.
Sunday, February 12 2012
Bravo Habibi Takes Sunday Turf Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 12, 2012) – Zayat Stables’ Bravo Habibi, away alertly and never far back, rallied boldly in the final furlong to be best by a length and a half in Sunday’s $46,000 Fair Grounds feature restricted to 3-year-old maidens and contested at about 5 1/2-furlongs over a Stall-Wilson turf course rated “good.”
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and trained by Steve Asmussen, the winner returned mutuels of $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40, toured the distance in 1:05.36 and increased his career earnings to $35,533 with his initial win from four lifetime starts.
Pletcher to Invade Louisiana Derby Preview Day
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 12, 2012) – Exactly two weeks after five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher recorded his 3,000th career winner, the megastar conditioner will be well-represented at Fair Grounds with at least three horses on target for the upcoming stakes-laden local Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford on Feb. 25.
Heading that list of invaders is Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino, whose connections are attracted by the $300,000 purse of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes, the final designed local prep for the $1 million Louisiana Derby to be run April 1.
Joyful Victory Outduels Ravi’s Song in Tiffany Lass
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, February 11, 2012) – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory, asked to show a second effort when passed by Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song in mid-stretch of Saturday’s $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds, responded to that request with a courageous half-length tally in the New Orleans oval’s featured race of the weekend.
“I knew Ravi’s Song was coming with a head of momentum and I’ve never seen this mare get in that kind of position,” said winning trainer Larry Jones, “but I was very proud to see her second effort to come back and she gutted it out. It was a good effort. At Oaklawn (last year) whenever she got the lead, she’d be gone.”
Havre de Grace Likely to Stay at Fair Grounds for 2012 Debut
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, February 11, 2012) – One day after reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace accomplished her first official work of the 2012 racing season, her trainer Larry Jones was sounding increasingly positive that the Fox Hill Farm color bearer would run her first race of the year in New Orleans.
“We would like to get Havre de Grace’s first race right here,” Jones said, speaking from the Fair Grounds barn area during training hours Saturday morning. “That way we wouldn’t have to ship her or anything like that.”
Wednesday, February 08 2012
Perrodin Easing Into Retirement
NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 08, 2012) – There were a lot of highpoints along the way in the lengthy and distinguished riding career of Louisiana-born jockey Elvis (E J.) Perrodin, but at 55 years of age, the lanky, popular reinsman affectionately known as Tee-Joe decided late last week that it was time to hang up his tack.
Perrodin was listed to ride Michael Collins’ The Reverend James for his brother-in-law, trainer Pat Mouton, in last Friday’s third race but took off that mount when announcing his retirement.
Monday, February 06 2012
Saturday’s Tiffany Lass Shaping Up Strong, Perrodin Retires
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, February 05, 2012) – A match up between last year’s Kentucky Oaks favorite and last year’s New Orleans Ladies winner appears likely this Saturday at Fair Grounds.
In one corner, it’s Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory, winner of Oaklawn’s Grade II Fantasy in 2011, and in another, it’s Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song, heroine of the 2011 $100,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds and a mare who worked a half-mile in 48.80 Sunday morning here. Those two are likely to face each other in Saturday’s 20th anniversary edition of the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes for older fillies and mares.
Sunday, February 05 2012
Bold Front Wins Saturday 3YO Feature
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, February 04, 2012) – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Bold Front, unhurried early, commenced a rally outside the leaders entering the lane, launched a strong second surge in the late stages and was up to be best by three-quarters of a length in Saturday’s $46,000 main event for maiden sophomores.
Trained by Paul McGee and ridden by Robby Albarado, the winner returned mutuels of $9.60, $4.40 and $3.40, toured the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.67 in the race transferred to the sloppy main track and increased his career earnings to $39,213 with his first win in four lifetime starts.
Friday, February 03 2012
Carmel Heitzmann, Badly Injured Last Season, Prepares to Run Marathon for Horse Rescue
NEW ORLEANS (Friday, February 03, 2012) – What a miraculous comeback year it has been for Fair Grounds-based horsewoman Carmel Heitzmann!
Severely injured when kicked by a horse in front of the Fair Grounds stands last Feb. 17, Heitzmann’s life was in jeopardy during those first critical hours and days, but following exploratory surgery that led to the removal of 24 inches of her colon, the wife of local trainer Eric Heitzmann was released from the hospital 10 days later.