NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 03, 2009) – Last season’s Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire, owned by Vinery Stable and Fox Hill Farm and now conditioned by Steve Asmussen, returned to competition Thursday in Fair Grounds’ feature but finished third as the odds-on choice, delaying Asmussen’s run at his own record for most North American wins by any trainer in a given calendar year.

Thursday’s Fair Grounds headliner was won by Laconian Racing Stable, Steve Organ and Josie Carroll’s Good and Lucky, three lengths the best and familiar to Fair Grounds fans for winning last season’s $75,000 Louisiana Handicap. Ridden by Shane Sellers – scoring his third win of the afternoon – the 6-year-old gelding was allowed to settle, took command entering the lane and quickly drew clear, returning mutuels of $12, $5.60 and $2.60 while accomplishing the 1 mile and 40-yard distance in 1:40.28. Good and Lucky, also trained by Carroll, increased his career earnings to $483,915 with his 10th win in 28 lifetime trips to the post.

“This horse runs like he looks on paper,” said Sellers of Good and Lucky. “He likes this racetrack.”

David Garner’s Glamour Guy, unhurried early, rallied late to be easily second best, paying $4.80 and $2.60 under defending Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado.

Friesan Fire, post time favorite for last spring’s Kentucky Derby but absent since the Preakness, lacked the needed late response and finished third – three lengths behind Glamour Guy while paying $2.10 in the show position.

“He needed the race,” said Asmussen. “He’s a great big horse who obviously needed the race and got a little tired.”

Jockey Bridgmohan voiced similar sentiments.

“I got squeezed a little on the first turn,” said Bridgmohan, “but he gave me what he had. He got a little tired.”

Fancy Runner made the pace with splits of 24.29 and 48.21 before tiring to finish fifth.


Asmussen Countdown: Nine to Go

Asmussen, defending champion trainer at Fair Grounds, ended Thursday afternoon with 613 winners in 2009, nine behind his 2008 mark of 622, while another Asmussen trainee was slated to go to the post later Thursday evening at Delta Downs.

On Friday, Asmussen has 21 horses entered throughout North America, including three at Fair Grounds, 10 at Remington, five at Delta Downs, one at Aqueduct, one at Woodbine and one at Sam Houston.

At Fair Grounds, Asmussen’s winter headquarters, the 44-year-old Texas native is slated to saddle Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Tibi in the opener; Nelson Bunker Hunt’s White Chiffon in the sixth; and Mike Rutherford’s Adger in the ninth race of the 10-race program.

First post Friday at Fair Grounds is 1 p.m.