(Jack Hammer / Photo Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
Nominations have been announced for the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and Longines Kentucky Oaks preps will be run on Saturday, March, 25, along with six other stakes on the Louisiana Derby Day card. The 1 3/16 miles Louisiana Derby and the 1 1/16 miles Fair Grounds Oaks mark the next stage for Derby and Oaks prep races as they offer 100-40-30-20-10 qualifying points to the top five finishers.
Post positions for the March 25 card (noon CT first post) which also includes the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) presented by Relyne GI by Hagyard, the $300,000 Muniz Memorial (G2) presented by Horse Racing Nation, the $100,000 Tom Benson Stakes, the $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes(LA), the $100,000 Crescent City Derby, and the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks will be drawn on Saturday, March 18.
On Saturday, March 18 at 11:45 a.m. CT, the field for the 110th running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) with starting gate assignments and morning line odds will be revealed during the Louisiana Derby Post Position Draw Show.
The Louisiana Derby Draw Show will be broadcast on Fair Grounds simulcast & on Twitter: @fairgroundsnola. Joe Kristufek and John G. Dooley will host and be joined by morning line odds maker Mike Diliberto & racing analyst Kevin Kilroy. Following the post-position draw, the connections on hand and members of the Fair Grounds management team will be available for interviews.
There were 13 late nominations to Louisiana Derby for a total of 69, including Sun Thunder (second in the Risen Star [G2]), Kingsbarns (2-for-2 and trained by Todd Pletcher), Single Ruler (5th in the Risen Star), and Cagliostro (2nd last out in an allowance; trained by Cherie DeVaux).
The list of nominees and the past performances for all eight stakes to be run at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday, March 25 can be found here: https://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbHorsemenAreaSNHW.cfm?trk=FG.
Friday’s Feature Race
On Friday, March 17, nine “Oaks-minded” 3-year-old fillies were entered in a first-level allowance going 1 1 /16 miles on the dirt.
In what will be her first try around two turns, Don Alberto Stable’s Merlazza was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. The Medaglio d’Oro filly drew post No. 4 and will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Among Merlazza’s main rivals is the Arrogate filly Bru Na Boinne owned by Kat Kirk and Wayne R Sanders. Trained by Bret Calhoun, she finished second at this distance in a similarly salty allowance race on Feb. 17. The favorite from that race who finished a disappointing fifth, Let It Ride Equine Holdings’ Huntleigh, drew post No. 2 for trainer Norm Casse. The impressive maiden winner, Lothenbach Stable’s Sweet Alyssa, will attempt two turns for the second time for trainer Neil Pessin, who is winning at a clip of 24% on the meet.
The Louisiana-bred Cajun Gumbow went fastest of 31 horses who worked 4 furlongs on Wednesday, March 15. The 3-year-old filly trained by Jayde Gelner breezed :47.60 from the gate.
Cajun Gumbow is entered against a field of 11 state bred fillies in an allowance for non-winners of 3 on Wednesday, March 22. In August of 2022, Cajun Gumbow won the D. S. Shine Young Futurity at Evangeline Downs.
Of the dozen 5-furlong workouts, one of the newest members of Chris Hartman’s barn went fastest, as the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Trafalgar breezed 1:01.00.
Trafalgar was claimed from Al Stall when victorious in a $50,000 claiming race on Feb. 11 at Fair Grounds. Hartman nominated Trafalgar to the $300,000 Muniz Memorial (G2) presented by Horse Racing Nation. The Muniz is 1 1/8 miles and is scheduled to be run on the Stall Wilson turf course on Louisiana Derby Day, Saturday, March 25.
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