NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, November 15, 2009) – The most impressive winner through the first five days of Fair Grounds’ current season?

It might have been the Steve Margolis-trained Cool Bullet, a 2-year-old gelding who broke his maiden by more than six lengths for owners Ray Murray, Dave Williams and Bob Estes in Saturday’s fifth race.
The handsome chestnut – well in hand for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. when he crossed under the wire – brought back memories of the 2000 Preakness, when the chestnut Red Bullet upset that year’s Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus in a dominant performance.

Not surprisingly, Red Bullet is Cool Bullet’s sire, and the father and son’s identical color is matched by the similarity of their conformation. Of course, there’s a long journey involved between winning in $50,000 maiden claiming company and capturing the second leg of the Triple Crown, but one has to start somewhere.

“These guys bought this horse for a song at a yearling sale at Keeneland,” said trainer Margolis, speaking over the phone from Churchill Downs Sunday morning. “We started him a couple of times last summer at Delaware, but his shins started bothering him, so we stopped on him, pin-fired him and gave him some time off. Our goal was to have him ready for the Fair Grounds meeting. We started working him back after he got to New Orleans and with the win (Saturday) it looks like things came out exactly as we had hoped.

“That was a very exciting win,” said Margolis. “I’m leaving for Fair Grounds today (Sunday) and I’ll be checking on him and all the others down there before I make one more trip back to Louisville later in the week. After that, I’ll be down at Fair Grounds for the winter, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this horse to see just how far he can take us. He may turn out to be a good one.”

The Longshots Keep on Coming at Fair Grounds
In the very first race of the 2009-2010 Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season presented by Miller Lite, the winner paid $70.80 and started off a Daily Double worth $630.80. On the second day of the meeting, the winner of the second race paid $126.40, as part of a Daily Double worth $563.40 and an exacta worth $923.20.

However, Friday, November 13th proved extremely lucky for longshot players after the last race of the day when John Duvieilh, and Keith and Earl Hernandez’ Deenameetay lit up the tote board with a win price of $163.40 – largest straight price of the young season. Trained by Frank Leggio and ridden by apprentice Chester Bonnet, Deenameetay occasioned an exacta payoff $1,151.20 and was also largely responsible for a $2 trifecta worth a whopping $14,740.60.

Introducing Jockey Richard Eramia to Fair Grounds Fans
Jockey Richard Eramia is not an apprentice – in fact that native of Uruguay has ridden in this country for four years – but this is his first time riding in New Orleans.

“I always wanted to be a jockey,” said Eramia Sunday morning during training hours. “I started riding when I was 15 years old even though no one in my family had any background in horse racing.

“Mostly, I’ve been riding on the Texas circuit at places like Lone Star Park, Retama and Sam Houston,” said the 30-year-old reinsman, “but I’ve also ridden at Remington and rode at Louisiana Downs last summer.

“This is my first time living in New Orleans, but my wife Jessica and I love living here,” said Eramia. “We have two kids (Cynthia, 5, and Laffit, 1). Naturally, Laffit is named after Laffit Pincay Jr. He’s my idol. He was the greatest.

“I love riding at Fair Grounds,” concluded Eramia, “because of the tough competition here. That makes me try even harder to keep improving. Also, I’m getting to meet and ride for a lot of different people here. I like that.”

Eramia’s engagements are being handled by the multi-talented Rick Mocklin, a longtime agent, sometimes an announcer, sometimes a television personality and most recently debuting as a Fair Grounds blogger.

“This kid has all the tools to be a great rider,” said Mocklin, “and he’s already a really good grass rider. He’s got the right attitude, he’s an established family man and he works very hard in the mornings.

“One thing I’ve learned about Fair Grounds,” said Mocklin, “is that if you’re around to work a lot of horses in the morning, you’re going to ride a lot of horses in the afternoon.”