Anybody who wagered substantially on Stephen Stigall’s Gazillionaire in Thursday’s second race at Fair Grounds might be halfway to becoming one, because the 4-year-old filly by Authenticate lit up the tote board with a $240 win payoff based on a $2 wager – largest straight price recorded thus far in the New Orleans 2010-2011 Thoroughbred Racing Season. Was the owner surprised?
Trained by Romeo Omana, Gazillionaire held sway in the late stages of Saturday’s upset for a 1 1/4-length score, accomplishing the mile and 70-yard distance in 1:47.76. The Louisiana-bred, who last visited the winner’s circle on Kentucky Derby Day last spring (albeit at Evangeline Downs), paid $80.80 to place, $20.60 to show, and was largely responsible for an exacta payoff of $2,172.40 (also a season-high payoff) and a Daily Double payoff of $334.40.
The previous high win payoff at Fair Ground this winter was recorded by John Weber’s Doo Wap Daddy, who returned a $128.20 win mutuel on Dec. 12 in the 10th race of the afternoon.
Ghost Is Clear Wins 3-Year-Old Maiden Feature
Later on Thursday, in the $47,000 six-furlong feature for 3-year-old maidens, Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Ghost is Clear justified his role as the favorite by drawing off for a convincing 7 1/4-length tally while accomplishing the distance in 1:10.47.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Corey Lanerie – who was riding his third winner of the day – Ghost is Clear returned mutuels of $5.80, $3.20 and $2.40 and increased his career earnings to $39,098 with his first win in four lifetime starts.
With the win, the son of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper enters the long-range picture for this year’s $1 million Grade II Louisiana Derby March 26. Twin Creeks Racing Stable won last year’s Louisiana Derby with Mission Impazible.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Rescue Financing, always well placed, could not stay with the winner when challenged but clearly held the place over Royal Colors Racing’s Saracen, who established the early fractions of 21.95 and 45.77 before weakening against the top two.
Rescue Financing paid $6.20 and $3.60 while Saracen returned $2.60 in the show spot.
Racing resumes Friday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.