“He likes this track,” trainer Austin Smith said following the New Orleans Handicap. “When I first got him, I didn’t train him hard. A lot of work has been done on him and he’s really changed a lot. I’m happy for the horse. He’s turned into a monster since he’s been down here.”
The races for leading jockey, trainer and owner were all decided in advance of closing weekend and those horsemen all led the standings last season, too.
Steve Asmussen won 54 races to earn his record 11th leading trainer title, breaking a tie with Fair Grounds’ all-time leading trainer, Jack Van Berg. Asmussen now has 821 career Fair Grounds wins, third behind Tom Amoss (882) and Van Berg (1,210 estimated). Amoss came in second this season with 37 victories.
“New Orleans has meant so much to the barn and all the success we’ve been fortune to have the last few years,” Asmussen said.
Rosie Napravnik ran away with her second consecutive leading jockey title, compiling 111 wins, 32 more than runner-up James Graham with 79.
“May or may not be here next year and if that’s the case that I am not here I am sure going to miss this place,” Napravnik said. “I really love it at the Fair Grounds and I love New Orleans and I am really thankful to all the people here, trainers and owners, that have supported me.”
Maggi Moss took home her second consecutive leading owner title with 18 wins, three more than Asmussen, who finished with 15.
“I sure wanted it but I don’t ever have any expectations,” Moss said. “This is my favorite racetrack. I love this town, I love this track and this is the one I wanted the most.”