In one corner, it’s Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory, winner of Oaklawn’s Grade II Fantasy in 2011, and in another, it’s Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song, heroine of the 2011 $100,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds and a mare who worked a half-mile in 48.80 Sunday morning here. Those two are likely to face each other in Saturday’s 20th anniversary edition of the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes for older fillies and mares.
Joyful Victory is coming off a game second-place finish in her first start this year Jan. 11, which was also the first start of her career on grass, while Ravi’s Song, who couldn’t handle a yielding Stall-Wilson turf course in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap Dec. 17, returns to the main track after making her last four starts on the lawn, and those include runner-up finishes in Churchill’s Grade III Cardinal Handicap last fall, Monmouth’s Grade III Matchmaker last summer and Churchill’s Grade III Mint Julep last spring.
Fighter Wing was third behind Ravi’s Song in last year’s New Orleans Ladies and second behind that same rival in last season’s $60,000 Pelleteri Stakes here. Seeking Sheba ran third in last fall’s $100,000 HBPA Stakes over synthetic going at Presque Isle Downs and Street Storm won last year’s $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes here in a race taken off the grass and run over a main track rated fast.
LOUISIANA NATIVE JOCKEY E.J. PERRODIN RETIRES – Longtime Fair Grounds jockey and Louisiana native Elvis Joseph “E.J.” Perrodin, also known to friends and fans as Tee-Joe, announced his retirement from the saddle earlier this week.
Perrodin, 55, rode six winners on a single program at Fair Grounds on Nov. 18, 1979, and won 3,083 races during his career. He was listed to ride Michael Collins’ The Reverend James for his brother-in-law trainer Pat Mouton in Friday’s third race but took off that mount when announcing his retirement.
JOCKEY JIMMY GEORGE’S FAMILY CELEBRATES 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF 5-WIN DAY – On Feb. 4, 1942, Fair Grounds-based jockey Jimmy George rode five winners on a single program at the New Orleans oval, and on Feb. 4, 2012, 22 members of his family and friends returned to Fair Grounds from their home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to celebrate his athletic achievement 70 years after it happened.
Although the jockey retired from the saddle in 1949 and died a number of years ago, his sons John and Tim, as well as his 78-year-old brother Ed, headed the large family group that flew down to New Orleans to commemorate the banner day.
“Dad never wanted my brother or me to grow up on the racetrack so he kept us away from it as kids,” said John George. “He wanted us to go to college and find something else to do with our lives, but we both love going to the races here and back home at River Downs, Churchill and Keeneland. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to help Gaston Galjour install TVs around the plant at Keeneland.”
Galjour, of Galjour Electronics and a member of Fair Grounds’ Press Box Hall of Fame from his years of service at Fair Grounds, also was responsible for the television systems at River Downs and Keeneland.
After retiring from the saddle, Jimmy George owned and operated a tavern in Cincinnati, and a large photograph of him holding up the numbers to commemorate the five wins was placed prominently behind the bar so that patrons would know of his former career.
“But Dad had no idea that 70 years later we’d still be celebrating his achievement,” his son said. “Now, we’re all looking forward to coming back to Fair Grounds again for the 75th anniversary.”
ALBARADO OFF ALL MOUNTS SUNDAY – Seven-time Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado cancelled off all his mounts Sunday at the local oval after reportedly suffering a foot injury in a gate mishap at Delta Downs Saturday night during that western Louisiana race course’s Premier Night program.