Fair Grounds Barn Notes: Is Too Could Be Ready For Another Top Performance in Red Camelia Stakes on Saturday

(Is Too Could Be Sitting on Go for the Red Camelia Stakes on Saturday / Hodges Photography & Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)

By Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds Media Team:

Barrone Farms’ Is Too has displayed dazzling performances in both of her turf efforts but will look to showcase the same impressive fashion in Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ $60,000 Red Camelia Stakes on Saturday, March 16 for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.

Trained by Eddie Johnston, the 4-year-old daughter of Midshipman will break from post nine as the 9-5 favorite under jockey Colby Hernandez and is a two-time winner this meet having defeated fellow Louisiana-bred fillies and mares against allowance company. On December 2, she made her debut on grass over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, which she won by an emphatic 6¼ lengths. In her last effort, Is Too was a wire-to-wire winner over the local lawn by 4¼ lengths on February 22 where she defeated three-time Louisiana-bred stakes winner Bermuda Star (post 10, Diego Saenz, 5-1). Is Too has not only displayed impressive winning ways over grass, last June she broke her maiden by 18 lengths over the main track at Evangeline Downs before defeating winners by 6½ lengths over the Opelousas oval.

“We were anxious to get her on grass,” Johnston said. “When we got her on the grass people started calling about her and last time out she just exploded. She’s a good turf filly for sure. A lot of Louisiana-bred turf fillies have kind of gone by the wayside. She’s pretty good so she’ll be able to perform well as long as we keep her healthy.”

While Is Too is making her stakes debut in the Red Camelia, Mr. Al’s Gal will be looking to add another Louisiana-bred stakes triumph to her already impressive resume. Owned by Brittlyn Stable, the 5-year-old daughter of Salute the Sarge has won a total of six stakes events, but all half-dozen of them took place over the main track. The Justin Jeansonne trainee is in search of her first stakes win since last year’s Louisiana Legends Distaff Stakes at Evangeline Downs and will also search for her first stakes triumph on grass. Although she has yet to score at such caliber on turf, she was second in last year’s edition of the Red Camelia Stakes behind Dontmesswithjoanne (post five, Jack Gilligan, 6-1) and was third in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes in December 2017. Mr. Al’s Gal boasts the highest amount of career earnings in the Red Camelia field with a bankroll of $491,900. She will be guided by Adam Beschizza from post three.

Completing the field are Tap Dance Star (post one, Gerard Melancon, 12-1), Starmaline (post two, Mitchell Murrill, 12-1), Eskenformore (post four, James Graham, 8-1), Hyper Piper (post six, Marcelino Pedroza, 10-1), Calamity Jane (post seven, Florent Geroux, 12-1) and Special Blessing (post eight, Corey Lanerie, 12-1).


The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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