Jake Ballis’s Cigar Street, a dominant 13 3/4-length maiden winner earlier this month, galloped Friday morning instead of breezing as planned due to bad weather. Trainer Steve Margolis said Cigar Street would now work Saturday in his first set after the renovation break, which ends at 8:30 a.m. Margolis will not be present for the move, as he’ll be en route to Turfway Park in Kentucky, where his 3-year-old filly Toxis, owned by Dixiana Farms, is set to contest the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks. A decision on Cigar Street’s status for the Grade II Louisiana Derby will be made after Margolis returns to New Orleans.\
Casner Racing’s Arm Force, a 3 3/4-length maiden winner and a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow trained by Eoin Harty, is now almost certain to be a Louisiana Derby runner, according to Fair Grounds stakes coordinator Scott Jones, who also expects Brereton Jones’ Mr. Bowling, trained by Larry Jones and hero of Fair Grounds’ Jan. 21 Grade III Lecomte Stakes, to return for the final leg of the local sophomore series and be coupled with Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski, second by a nose in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes here Feb. 25.
Stakes coordinator Jones is also highly optimistic that Olympia Star Inc.’s Russian Greek, the winner of Golden Gate’s $100,000 California Derby conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer; West Point Thoroughbreds’ Flashy Sunrise, the runner-up to Cigar Street last time trained by Dallas Stewart; and WinStar Farm’s Windsurfer who broke his maiden at Gulfstream by 2 1/4-lengths and is trained by Todd Pletcher, will join in the upcoming Louisiana Derby fray on closing day of the local winter racing season.
EARLY LOOK AT $500,000 FAIR GROUNDS OAKS MARCH 31 – Expected to head the field in the upcoming Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on the penultimate day of the current Crescent City Racing season on March 31 is Gillian Campbell, Greenwood Lodge and R Group Management’s Summer Applause, heroine of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes Feb. 25 as the designed prep for the Fair Grounds Oaks.
The Fair Grounds Oaks is the always-significant local prep for the Kentucky Oaks, which will be contested this spring at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 4. Four of the last seven Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to victory in that season’s Kentucky Oaks.
Strong competition for the Bret Calhoun-trained Summer Applause in the Fair Grounds Oaks is expected to come once again from Tall Oaks Farm’s Avie’s Sense, the game Josie Carroll-trained pace maker in the Rachel Alexandra who finished second by a length to Summer Applause in that test after jumping from a 5 3/4-length victory in the maiden ranks into graded stakes competition.
Also expected back for the Fair Grounds Oaks is Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can, winner of Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 21 as the initial leg of the local series for sophomore fillies. She went on to finish fourth in the Rachel Alexandra.
Glencrest Farm’s Disposablepleasure, a Todd Pletcher trainee who won Aqueduct’s Grade II Demoiselle last November and was fourth in Gulfstream’s Grade II Davona Dale in her last start Feb. 25, is now expected to invade New Orleans for the Fair Grounds Oaks, as is Gainesway Thoroughbreds’ Small Kitchen, a Mike Maker-trained filly who is undefeated in two trips to the post, both over the local oval.