(Fair Grounds’ biggest day of racing is today / Photo Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)

By Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds Media Team:

Over the years, bloodstock agent Larry Zap has selected some of the best horses to come through the barn of trainer Peter Eurton. Grade I winners Dance With Fate, Weemissfrankie and Champagne Room to name a few. Zap believes that Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks Presented by Twinspries.com contender Slewgoodtobetrue could be the next piece of talent that he buys for the Southern California based trainer.

Zap selected the dark bay daughter of Jimmy Creed from the Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s June Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale last year for $110,000 where she was consigned by Mayberry Farm.

When Zap goes to the sales, he usually is interested in getting a horse that shows some promise on grass, but he made a conscious effort to go a different route last June and try to select a dirt horse. And that’s exactly what he found.

“Our go to sale has been OBS April over the years, but we’ve started to go in June more because it’s tougher buy a horse in April.” Zap said. “I normally buy a very athletic, turfy horse. I made an effort last year to buy a dirt horse and she just happened to breeze on synthetic but when you pull her out she had all the physicality and traits of the dirt horse: more bone and a nice hind end.”

Zap admits that he had to spend a little more on Slewgoodtobetrue than he had anticipated, but in the end it was worth putting up the extra money.

“When we got to the back ring, we saw a lot of people around and it just so happened that I was going to 50 or 60 (thousand),” Zap recalled. “I told (co-owner) Joe Ciaglia that it would take more than that so we stuck her out and bought her for $110,000. We bought a sound and healthy horse. She has that beautiful way about her and she has a good mind. Eurton is very conscious about shipping. He usually wants to know that they have the metal capacity and she has that laid back attitude. Nothing bothers her. I learn with fillies that they have to have that good strong mind; she’s very correct and just has a great mind on her. We’ve ended up making a good three-year-old with her, so here we sit with a filly developing at the right time.”

Slewgoodtobetrue has never finished worse than second in her four career starts, all of which took place over the main track. After breaking her maiden at third asking in her two-turn debut at Santa Anita in January, she defeated a group of winners over the Arcadia oval, including next out winner Proud Emma.

Bred in South Carolina, Slewgoodtobetrue would become the first Thoroughbred born in the Palmetto State to win a graded stakes race if she wins the Fair Grounds Oaks.

“We are aware of the importance of South Carolina when it comes to breaking two year olds,” Zap said. “I love an obscurely bred horse only because it’s got that title and I think she was eligible for a race or two in the Mid-Atlantic for that reason. We’ve actually won regional awards before with (New York-bred) Wemissfrankie (Florida-bred) Dance With Fate and (California-bred) Pacific Heat. We’ve had regional winners and obviously an Eclipse Award winner with Champagne Room.”

Zap cannot help but speak such high volumes of Slewgoodtobetrue. A victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks would secure her a spot in the starting gate for the Grade I $1.5 million Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and awards a total of 170 points to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10).

“We would obviously love to stamp a ticket to the First Friday in May but we haven’t seen the bottom of her,” Zap said. “I think (jockey) Mike (Smith) left a lot in the tank in her last race. She’s trained unbelievably coming into this race. We’re thinking a big year for this filly. I’m hoping for her to make the cover (of the Ocala Breeders Sales Company sales catalog), we’ve made the cover before. She’s been very sound and is an amazing horse to be around. She’s one of those horses that works fast looking pretty and works slow looking pretty. (Trainer) Bruce Headley said that the good horses will do that. I saw him buy horses that were fast but could route. He’s one of the better ones that I’ve seen in the game. We try to take somewhat of a biomechanical approach and I think that’s becoming a wave in this game.”

Slewgoodtobetrue is owned by Ciaglia Racing in partnership with Sharon Alesia, E R J Racing and Burns Racing. She is out of the eight-time winning Chief Seattle broodmare Chiefette.



(Copper Bullet tries the Fair Grounds today / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs)


 Since the beginning of his racing career, the connections have always thought highly of Copper Bullet. In six of his seven career starts he has always showed up to bring his A game, and he’ll seek a second graded stakes triumph in Saturday’s Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap.

Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, the 4-year-old son of More Than Ready won the Grade II Saratoga Special Stakes as a 2-year-old in August 2017 by four lengths but did not race for 16 more months. When he finally did return off the bench he did so in style by winning a Churchill Downs allowance event by 3½ lengths over the main track. In his 2019 debut, he was second beaten a neck behind Coal Front in the Grade III Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park on February 18.

“He had a minor hairline fracture in his cannon bone so we tend to be a little more cautious with him than we are normally,” said owner Ron Winchell’s Bloodstock and Racing Manager David Fiske. “We’re cautious with everything, but he means a lot to us. His race at Oaklawn was first time around two turns and we thought he did that pretty well. He’s bred to go around two turns so we’re expecting a good effort from him (on Saturday).”

 Copper Bullet’s lone off-the-board effort was in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26 where he was 11th beaten eight legnths.

“We thought he ran exceptionally well at Oaklawn after not getting much in the way of conditioning out the Malibu,” Fiske said “He got hit in the head with something and that took him out of his game so  really the race at Oaklawn was his first race back.”

Although Copper Bullet has not tried the turf, Fiske discussed the possibility of giving it a shot at some point in the future.

“I think the plan further this year is to try him on the grass at some point,” Fiske said “His whole bottom side are French turf fillies and he’s bred to run all day.”

Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Copper Bullet is out of the Unbridled’s Song broodmare Allegory whose dam was stakes winner Louve Royale (Ire.). He is from the same family as Loup Breton (Ire.) – a French grouped stakes winner and Grade II winner in the United States.

(Trainer Michael Stidham / Hodges Photography & Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)


It is fairly common for horses that make their United States debut from Europe to get their fair share of attention. In Saturday’s $75,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes, Flower Party (Ire.) will look for a successful first outing across the pond.

Owned by Sunny Brook Stables, the 4-uear-old daughter of Duke of Marmalade (Ire.) was previously conditioned in Italy while under the care of Marco Botti. While racing in Italy, she won six of her nine career starts which include a Group 3 victory two starts back at San Siro . She made her last start on November 4 in the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio Stakes behind God Given.

“She came over and has been here for about three months now,” trainer Michael Stidham said. “We gave her plenty of time to acclimate and settle in. We didn’t know how she was going to train over the dirt but we have been pleasantly surprised that her works have been really good. She’s acclimated well mentally and physically she’s doing well. The biggest question mark will be the (mile-and-an-eighth) distance because her best races over there have been going a mile-and-a-quarter. That will be more of an obstacle than the competition.”

Flower Party will be guided by jockey Joe Bravo from post five and is the 5-2 morning line second-choice. She is out of the Aptitude broodmare Jubilant Lady whose dam Traverse Ciy was a Grade III winner in the United States.


(Divisidero winning at Churchill Downs / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs)


Dual Grade I winner Divisidero will make his second start of  2019 in the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial

Owned by Gunpowder Farms and Brereton C Jones, the 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy has constructed a million-dollar career on the race-track. His last win came last July in the Grade III Arlington Handicap where he defeated fellow Muniz aspirant Synchrony. In his most recent effort he was beaten a beck in the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes to Inspector Lynley who also is entered in the Muniz Memorial.

His two Grade I triumphs took place when scoring back-to-back editions of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs (now known as the Old Forester Turf Classic). The winner of the Muniz Memorial Handicap gets an automatic entry fees paid berth into the $1 million event on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs as well as the Grade I $1 million Arlington Million at Arlington International Racecourse on August 10.

“He’s doing great,” said trainer Kelly Rubley. “He got here (Wednesday), shipped well and everything is going good.”

Divisidero is no stranger to shipping around the country as Fair Grounds will be the ninth track he has raced at in his four-year racing career. He will look to make the Muniz Memorial Handicap his fifth graded stakes win.

Divisidero will be ridden by Florent Geroux and will break from post two at 5-1 morning line odds.

Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, Divisidero was bought for $250,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2013 where he was consigned by his breeder. He is out of the Lemon Drop Kid broodmare Madame Du Lac