Saturday, February 25 2012


Starlite Starbrite Shines On Starlight Night


NEW ORLEANS (Friday, February 24, 2012) – Andrena Van Doren’s Starlite Starbrite came up to make the pace leaving the backstretch and never relinquished command thereafter, posting a 2 1 /4-length victory in main event during Friday’s fourth of six Starlight Racing programs this season under the lights at Fair Grounds.

Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the Tom Amoss trainee toured the 5 1/2-furlong distance of the $53,000 filly and mare allowance and $62,500 optional claiming dash in 1:03.42 after early splits of 22.14 and 44.86. She increased her career earnings to $238 802 with her sixth lifetime victory in 17 starts and returned mutuels of $7.60, $3 and $2.60 as the second choice of the fans.





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Sellers Back to Riding ‘As Good As I’ve Ever Ridden’


NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) – “Shane Sellers,” jockey agent Fred Aime remarked on a quiet morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, “has made more comebacks than Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Given the tendency of jockey agents to pontificate upon the merits of their riders while sometimes demonstrating disregard for actual facts in the matter, we leave it up to the reader to discern whether Mr. Aime’s quotation may include slight exaggeration. This we know, however, regarding the matter of coming back to racing successfully – one need only look at the rider’s record of the past three years to ascertain that his return has been quite the achievement.





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Thursday, February 23 2012


Louisiana Derby Preview Day Shippers Arrive in Good Order


NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) – All the out-of-town shippers invading New Orleans in advance of Saturday’s Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford had arrived without incident in New Orleans by mid-morning Wednesday and were safely ensconced in three different barns on the Fair Grounds backstretch.

PLETCHER’S PAIR GET TO NEW ORLEANS WEDNESDAY MORNING – Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino, the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes as the final designed prep race in advance of the $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1, was getting a bath while being held trainer Todd Pletcher’s assistant Whit Beckman.





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Brereton Jones and Larry Jones, ‘Till Death Do Us Part’


NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) – The filly was named Modean, and she ran for a $5,000 claiming tag at Ellis Park.

This was long before the days of 2008 Eclipse Award-winning filly Proud Spell, when colts Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski – now top contenders for Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds – and the filly Believe You Can (the favorite in the same card’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes) were just a twinkle in their breeders’ eyes.





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Wednesday, February 22 2012


Daisy Devine Trumps ‘Queen’ in Mardi Gras Handicap


NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) – James Miller’s Daisy Devine, cleverly ridden by Irish-born jockey James Graham, took advantage of a short field and a temporary rail set 22 feet away from its inside position that left Clark Brewster’s odds-on favorite Cherokee Queen somewhat tactically challenged and was able to draw off late for a 2 1/2-length tally in Fat Tuesday’s featured $75,000 Mardi Gras Handicap for older fillies and mares over Fair Grounds’ yielding Stall-Wilson turf course.

“I thought this was the perfect set-up,” said Daisy Devine’s Irish-born winning trainer Andy McKeever. “With the rail being out it is more conducive to speed.”





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Tres Barrachos Likely Favorite in Mineshaft, Smart Bid Choice in FG ‘Cap


NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) – Button Stable and George Hicker’s California invader Tres Borrachos, who was installed as the tepid 7-2 early choice in Saturday’s Grade III Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds, is now likely to go the post at shorter odds following three late defections from the upcoming event for older horses at 1 1/16-miles that serves as Fair Grounds’ final prep for the Crescent City course’s Grade II New Orleans Handicap April 1.

Fair Grounds stakes coordinator Scott Jones advised on Tuesday morning that the connections of George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire as well as Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Cool Blue Red Hot informed the racing office that their charges would not be coming from South Florida for the Mineshaft, and in a related late Mineshaft development, C R K Stable’s West Coast invader Gladding was reportedly not on the equine charter flight from California that was to arrive in New Orleans Tuesday.





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Table Three Ten Earning Rave Reviews


NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) – In a restaurant on Short Street in the city of Lexington, Ky., hangs a nicely framed photograph of a nicely made racehorse. The runner is called Table Three Ten, and a look at the menu of this fine dining establishment confirms a title of identical name.

Table Three Ten the filly runs Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, at which point the proprietors of Table Three Ten the restaurant will be busy serving up tapas and wine – their usual fare – with little focus on events occurring in New Orleans. But a victory by Team Valor’s daughter of El Prado in the $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Grade III, 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles) would doubtless cause a stir among select residents of Lexington, leaving some of the opinion that a gathering of fans and followers of the horse might well be in order at the little establishment come spring.





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Believe You Can Assumes Favorite’s Role in Grade III Rachel Alexandra


NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) – With the already announced defection of Ramona Bass’s morning-line choice Applauding from Saturday’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes, Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can is likely to assume the favorite’s mantle in this weekend’s $200,000 event for 3-year-old fillies that serves as the final designed local prep for the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks March 31.

After being the length and a half heroine of Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 21, Believe You Can obviously proved her mettle, but the brilliant but untested speed of Applauding did deserve a healthy measure of hand-clapping when handicapping the original seven Rachel Alexandra entrants.





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Tuesday, February 21 2012


El Padrino Faces Jones Duo, Eight Others in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star


NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 20, 2012) – Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino, who closed out in the opening Kentucky Derby Future Pool this year at 16-1, has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.

As Fair Grounds’ designed prep for the $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1, the $300,000 Risen Star is the centerpiece race on Saturday’s six-stakes race program worth $885,000 and billed as Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.





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Larry Jones’s Diary On Lundi Gras Morning


NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 20, 2012) – There was still a sliver visible in the eastern sky from February’s waning moon when the stakes horse-laden barn of the Larry & Cindy Jones Stable began its workday on Lundi Gras morning in New Orleans.

Here are some highlights – in chronological order – recorded at that Fair Grounds barn during training hours on the eve of Mardi Gras:





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Monday, February 20 2012


Morning Line Odds for Louisiana Derby Preview Day Stakes


In post position order from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, weights for handicap stakes), followed by odds.

$300,000 Risen Star Stakes (Grade II, 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles): Afford (Shaun Bridgmohan, Greg Geier), 8-1; Optimizer (Carlos Marquez Jr., Wayne Lukas), 6-1; Mr. Bowling (Robby Albarado, Larry Jones), 4-1, part of Brereton Jones entry; Z Dager (Shane Sellers, Steve Asmussen), 5-1; Ted’s Folly (Ramsey Zimmerman, Wilson Brown), 20-1; Adena’s Chance (Richard Eramia, Gennadi Dorochenko), 30-1, part of Raut LLC entry; Hero of Order (James Graham, Dorochenko), 30-1, part of Raut LLC entry; El Padrino (Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher), 2-1; Mark Valeski (Rosie Napravnik, L. Jones), 4-1, part of Brereton Jones entry; Shared Property (Leandro Goncalves, Tom Amoss), 6-1; and Tizanexpense (Miguel Mena, Mike Maker), 10-1.





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Havre de Grace Up to Five Furlongs in :59 4/5


NEW ORLEANS (Monday, February 20, 2012) – Horse of the Year Havre de Grace continued to progress toward her 2012 debut in March, breezing five furlongs in :59 4/5 on Lundi Gras morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The 5-year-old mare, owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, once again posted the first timed move of the morning just after the track opened for training at 6 a.m. and. Working from the five-eighths pole to the finish line with exercise rider Jen Brasser aboard, Fair Grounds clockers recorded splits of :12, :24 1/5, :36 1/5, and :48. Brasser did not ask Havre de Grace for anything after the wire, galloping out six furlongs into the turn in 1:14 3/5.





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