(Trainer Brad Cox / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
Fair Grounds’ leading trainer Brad Cox, who already has seven stakes wins at the current meet, will saddle both 5-2 morning line favorite Dominga and 3-1 second choice Jezebel’s Kitten in Saturday’s $75,000 Allen Black Cat Lacombe Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Restricted to 3-year-old fillies, the Lacombe is carded as race nine of ten with a scheduled post time of 4:48 p.m. CT.
A solid maiden winner at third asking on December 5 over the Stall-Wilson turf course, Don Alberto Stable’s Dominga returned eight weeks later to finish a late closing yet distant second behind the odds-on favorite Alms in the Shantel Lanerie Memorial.
“She’s a really big filly who doesn’t have a lot of early speed,” Cox said. “She ran really well at Fair Grounds at the start of the meet and then we were able to pick up some black type her when she was beaten by a really good filly (Alms). I would call her an average work horse and her work last weekend (47 4/5 on Feb. 29) was above average. She seems to be doing really well right now. We need a good trip. With her size, she’s not the kind of filly you want to get stopped. Shaun (jockey Bridgmohan) has ridden her with success.”
Bridgmohan leads all Fair Grounds jockeys with seven stakes wins at the meet, four of those for Cox. Dominga is programmed to leave from the extreme outside gate in the field of nine.
A winner at first asking over the Ellis Park turf course in August, Ilium Stable LLC’s Jezebel’s Kitten returned on short rest to take the Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland on October 9, she sat an inside, pocket trip in a fast-paced race, but failed to respond late, finishing fourth of 14.
“She really liked the firm turf courses at Kentucky Downs and Ellis,” Cox said. “She worked really well leading up to the Jessamine, she just didn’t perform to expectations. Given the (good) ground at Keeneland that day, it was not what she was used to, so I’m going to use that as an excuse for now. We gave her some time off and she’s come back really well.”
“She’s a small filly, she does have some speed and she’s a really good work horse on the dirt,” Cox continued. It is her first race off of a (five-month) layoff and hopefully this will kick start her year for bigger and better things.”
Colby Hernandez is named to ride Jezebel’s Kitten from post six.
A six-length winner at Tampa in her only career turf start, Godolphin LLC’s Embossed returns to the turf off an even sixth place effort in the Suncoast Stakes on dirt.
“Pablo Morales told us that there was no question that she was better on grass, but the Suncoast was coming up, and she had also done well on the dirt (easy maiden win on Dec. 4),” trainer Mike Stidham explained. “We decided to give the dirt one more try just to make a decision to see which surface we will focus more on. The results of the dirt stake told us that we needed to come back to the grass. That’s what (Pablo) Morales told us. That she had another gear on the grass that she didn’t have on the dirt. We are going back to the grass and will probably plan on staying with the grass from here on.”
“For a $75,000 stake, this race came up pretty tough,” Stidham continued. “It is going to tell us a lot about which direction we will take the rest of the year. We go to Fair Hill and race at Monmouth and on the East Coast most of the summer, so we will have lots of turf opportunities. This race will kind of give us a feel of where we are headed next.”
From post two, jockey Mitchell Murrill is named to ride Embossed for the first time.
Stidham added that his other Lacombe entrant, CJ Thoroughbreds’ Trickle In, will scratch and that his 3-year-old filly turf star Alms, the undefeated winner of the Shantel Lanerie Memorial at Fair Grounds, is being pointed to the Appalachian at Keeneland.
Completing the field for the Allen Black Cat Lacombe Memorial (with post, jockey/trainer and morning line odds) are: Hinkle Farm’s Wexx (post three, Beschizza/Jones at 10-1), Nicole Lyvere’s Pranked (post four, Graham/Amoss at 4-1), Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Audrey’s Time (post five, Lanerie/Pessin at10-1), Robert E. Low and Lawana Low’s Urbana (post six, Albarado/Margolis at 15-1) and Gary Broad’s Dawn’s Dancer (post eight, Doyle/C. Davis at 12-1).