NEW ORLEANS (Monday, December 28, 2009) – Fair Grounds’ famous trio of graded grass stakes appears a lot greener in 2010 due to the strategic repositioning of the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap for the day after Christmas in 2009.

The “Buddy D.” – also contested over the Stall-Wilson turf course – was moved from its late November renewal 13 months ago into its new spot in time for the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Presented by Miller Lite, allowing it to become an excellent preview of the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap Jan. 23, the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 20 and the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap March 27 as part of the showcased Louisiana Derby Day program.


“Yes, that move was a conscious decision when we mapped out this season’s stakes schedule,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Jason Boulet on the morning after the Buddy D. “Also, I think it may have helped make Saturday’s race one of the best betting races we’ve had a Fair Grounds this season.”

Michele Boyce, the Illinois-based usual trainer of Princeville Condo, was so impressed with the repositioning of the Buddy D. that she sent her horse down to Fair Grounds-based Greg Geier to see if he was a stakes quality animal on turf, and Princeville Condo responded with the win in Saturday’s renewal.

“Now, I’ll leave the horse down there with Greg,” Boyce said while speaking over the phone from Hawthorne Sunday morning, “and we can point Princeville Condo to the rest of the series. I have most of my stable up here in Chicago, so I can’t get away for the winter, but Greg has been a friend for years. He’s a very good horseman and I have complete confidence in him. Hopefully, I can get away long enough to come down for the Col. Bradley in four weeks.

“I didn’t get to see (Princeville Condo’s win) as it happened (Saturday),” Boyce said. “I was watching for it on HRTV, but then they cut away to show Zenyatta being paraded ‘live’ at Santa Anita and delayed the Fair Grounds race for tape delay. By the time they showed the race, I already knew the result because my vet had called me and told me about it.”

In addition to being the regular trainer of Princeville Condo, Boyce is part owner along with Jack Barr and Nate Ruffolo. “I’ve trained for Jack Barr for eight or nine years now,” she said. “He lives in Missouri but sends his mares to Illinois to foal in order to take advantage of the Illinois program. This horse’s dam is a good producer. I’ve trained three offspring out of that mare that went on to win races for me.

“Jack named this horse after a condo he stayed at when he was vacationing in Hawaii,” Boyce concluded. “He said it was one of the best vacations he ever had and one of the happiest times of his life.”


Princeville Condo Has Additional Diliberto Connection

On the morning after Princeville Condo won the Buddy Diliberto Memorial, Nate Ruffolo, part owner of the winner, was introduced to Mike Diliberto, Fair Grounds morning line oddsmaker and clocker who is also the son of Buddy Diliberto.

“I presented the trophy to you in the winner’s circle yesterday,” the younger Diliberto explained to Ruffolo by way of introduction. “I was very happy to be in the winner’s circle yesterday with my longtime friend Greg Geier. We go way back to when Greg served as an assistant to (the late revered trainer) Gene Cilio. Gene was one of my best friends, and we all miss him around here.”


Louisiana Futurity Slated Thursday at Fair Grounds

Both divisions of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Futurity highlight Thursday’s New Year’s Eve program at the Crescent City course.

The $94,145 colts and geldings division of the raced restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds is headed by Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Red Rally, who won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile at Fair Grounds on Dec. 12.

The Heiligbrodt Racing Stable-owned duo of Mami Wata and Lunar Fest, as well as Ragin Cajun Stable’s Happyfromthegitgo, comprise a three-horse entry conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen that heads the $94,145 filly division of Thursday’s Louisiana Futurity.


Catching Up on Weekly Recaps…

Week 7 (Dec. 17-21) Winners to Know (with owner, trainer, jockey)

Country Day (Richard, Bertram & Elaine Klein, Steve Margolis, Shaun Bridgmohan)—Three-year-old colt won for third time in five starts, drawing off to win gate-to-wire by six lengths in a Thursday second-level allowance transferred to main track at 5 ½ furlongs

Bella Medaglia (Coteau Grove Farms, Glenn Delahoussaye, John Jacinto)—Two-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro, making her second start, won a Friday maiden special weight by three lengths despite a wide trip going 1 mile and 40 yards

Ricky Tick (Jac Mac Stable, Richard Jackson, Patrick Valenzuela)—Two-year-old colt by Macho Uno rallied from seventh to first in the stretch to win by a half-length in a Saturday maiden special weight at 1 mile and 40 yards

Cool Bullet (Winmore, Steve Margolis, Brian Hernandez Jr.)—Two-year-old gelding by Red Bullet won for second time this season, holding off Big Texas Daddy to score by a head in Saturday’s $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at six furlongs

Grand Traverse (Mimicry Partnership, Tim Glyshaw, Victor Lebron)—Six-year-old gelding swung outside and drew off to win Saturday’s $60,000 Bonapaw at 5 ½ furlongs on yielding turf by two lengths, his ninth win in 34 starts

Seven Seventythree (Heiligbrodt Racing, Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan)—Three-year-old filly rallied from next-to-last into a fast pace and pulled clear to win by eight lengths in Saturday’s LCD Ladies Sprint at six furlongs

She’s Our Annie (Destiny Oaks, Jinks Fires, Jon Court)—Three-year-old filly posted fifth consecutive win (third consecutive stakes win) with an easy 2 ½-length gate-to-wire score in the $60,000 Esplanade Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs

Star Guitar (Brittlyn Stable, Al Stall Jr., Curt Bourque)—Four-year-old colt placed himself among the all-time great Louisiana-breds with a dominant 7 ¾-length victory in the $150k LCD Classic, his third LCD win

War Echo (Winchell Thoroughbreds, Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan)—Three-year-old filly and ¾ sister to Pyro, in her first stakes try since winning last season’s Gr. III Silverbulletday, won Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile DRF Distaff by an easy 3 ½ lengths

Desert Wheat (Wachtel Stb., Brous Stb. & J.D. Lee, Bill Mott, Corey Lanerie)—Six-year-old horse confirmed his status as the top La.-bred turf horse with an easy 4-length waltz over seven rivals in Saturday’s $100k LCD Turf at 1 1/16 miles over yielding turf

My Jen (Windmill Manor Farm, Eddie Kenneally, Jamie Theriot)—Two-year-old by Fusaichi Pegasus remained undefeated in three starts, holding off Visavis’s late charge to win by a nose in Saturday’s $60k Letellier Memorial at six furlongs

Flashy Wise Cat (Lee Young Farm, Troy Young, Shane Sellers)—Four-year-old colt split horses and drew off to win by 4 ½ lengths in Saturday’s $100,000 LCD Sprint at six furlongs, improving career record to five wins and three seconds from nine starts

Elusive Jozi (David Garner, Ralph Nicks, Jamie Theriot)—Two-year-old filly by Johannesburg, making her second start, rallied mid-track to prove best by a half-length in a Saturday maiden special weight at six furlongs

Good and Lucky (Laconian Racing Stable, Steve Organ & Josie Carroll, Josie Carroll, Shane Sellers)—Six-year-old gelding won at FG for the second time this season and sixth time in 10 starts with a 1 ¾-length score in Saturday’s $60k Tenacious H. at 1 1/16 miles

Fundy (Elisabeth Alexander, Helen Pitts-Blasi, Brian Hernandez Jr.)—Three-year-old gelding, making his first start since the Grade II Indiana Derby, held on by a neck against older horses in a Sunday second-level allowance going 1 mile and 40 yards

Midway Holiday (Brereton Jones & Timothy Thornton, Greg Foley, Victor Lebron)—Two-year-old Harlan’s Holiday filly edged clear to win a Monday entry-level allowance at about one mile on turf by 1 ¼ lengths

Barton Springs (Mike Rutherford, Bret Calhoun, Jamie Theriot)—Two-year-old filly by Fusaichi Pegasus, making second start, held off multiple challengers to win a Monday maiden special weight at six furlongs by three-quarters-of-a-length


Week 6 (Dec. 10-14) Winners to Know (with owner, trainer, jockey)

King of Speed (Carl Moore, Bret Calhoun, Eddie Martin Jr.)—Popular 10-year-old doughnut-loving gelding dug in to hold on by a nose for his second score this season (101-24-15-14 lifetime) in a Dec. 10 claiming race transferred to the main track at 1 1/8 miles

Stone Legacy (Marylou Whitney Stables, D. Wayne Lukas, Robby Albarado)—Kentucky Oaks runner-up to Rachel Alexandra earned second career win by a convincing 3 ¼-length margin in a Dec. 11 entry-level allowance at 1 mile and 40 yards

Superior Storm (Jac Mac Stable, Richard Jackson, Robby Albarado)—Four-year-old filly became third horse ever to win three La. Champions Day races with a 1 ½-length triumph in the Dec. 12 $100,000 L.C.D. Ladies at 1 /16 miles

Red Rally (Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel & Merrill Scherer, Merrill Scherer, Francisco Torres)—Two-year-old gelding by Reformer Rally proved much the best in widening 3 1/3-length score in the Dec. 12 $100,000 LCD Juvenile

Speedacious (Carl Moore, Bret Calhoun, Carlos Gonzalez)—Two-year-old filly by Yankee Gentleman drew off to a smashing 12-length win in the Dec. 12 $100,000 LCD Lassie

Auspicious (Padua Stables, Steve Asmussen, Shaun Bridgmohan)—Three-year-old filly won for third time in five starts with a ¾-length win in a Dec. 14 second-level allowance transferred onto the main track at 5 ½ furlongs

Bravo Whiskey (Bluegrass Hall, Neil Howard, Robby Albarado)—Two-year-old colt by Smart Strike stamped himself a contender for the 3-year-old stakes series with an easy six-length win in a Dec. 14 maiden special weight at six furlongs