(Trainer Bret Calhoun, right, and owner Chester Thomas after Mr. Money’s win in the G3 Pat Day Mile / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
On Saturday March 21, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will host Louisiana Derby Day presented by Twinspires.com. The program will feature eight stakes worth in excess of $2.4 million, including the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) for 3-year-olds and the $400,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) for older route horses. Trainer Bret Calhoun has a pair of aces pointing for both races.
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Bret Calhoun on Aint No Elmers who broke her maiden impressively at first asking on February 15 at Fair Grounds. The 3-year-old daughter of Goldencents will be nominated to the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2):
“She’s looked good and has passed every test we have thrown at her,” Calhoun said. “I’m not sure if stepping her up this quick to face some talented and experienced fillies right off the bat will be the right way to handle her, but we’ll nominate her and give it a look. If we don’t go there we will probably end up in an allowance race.”
Calhoun has two horses being pointed for the New Orleans Classic (G2) — 2019 Louisiana Derby (G2) winner By My Standards, who won his 4-year-old debut in an early February allowance at Fair Grounds while in hand down to the wire, and Silver Dust, the runner-up in the last year’s Classic who exits a win in the February 15 Mineshaft (G3).
“He’s doing really well right now,” Calhoun said of By My Standards. “He’s going to work this weekend and we’ll keep pointing him to the New Orleans Classic (G2). Right now it’s looking like I’m going to run By My Standards and Silver Dust both in this race. I’d like to separate them, but both owners deserve to be in there and want to be in there. The timing is perfect for both of them so we’re going to wait and see but it looks like I’ll have both in there.”
Calhoun on Mr. Money, a multiple graded stakes winner, who was last seen running seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The 4-year-old of son of Goldencents posted a five furlongs work in: 59.80 seconds on March 1:
“That work the other day was the first work we really let him do anything out there,” Calhoun said. “We didn’t ask him to go that fast, we just let him show us what he wanted and let him do whatever he wanted. He worked really well and bounced out of it perfectly. He looks to be on track to make a start in the first couple weeks of April.”
Calhoun on Mailman Money who ran fourth (5 points) in the first division of the Risen Star (G2), and recorded his first workout since then on February 29 going four furlongs in: 48.80.
“He came out of the race well and breezed back good the other day,” Calhoun said. “We’re going to do a little more with him this weekend. Everything looks to be going in the right direction as we continue to aim him towards the Louisiana Derby (G2).”
Calhoun on Digital, who after a fifth place finish in the first division of the Risen Star Stakes (G2), will jump off the Derby trail and aim for the Pat Day Mile (G3):
“We’re going to take him off the Derby trail,” Calhoun explained. “We think he has the quality to be a Derby horse but we don’t think he’s ready for it yet. We’re going to point him to the Pat Day Mile (G3). We’ll get him ready for that in an allowance race and go from there.”
Calhoun on Mr. Big News who finished fifth in division two of the Risen Star (G2) off a maiden win going two turns in January at Fair Grounds:
“We really want him to run in the Louisiana Derby (G2),” Calhoun explained. “He’s trained really well and has continued to move forward. That last race was a really good learning experience for him and we expect a lot of him going forward.”