From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
Corrine & William L. Heiligbrodt’s Shang, a winner of four of five lifetime starts locally, has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s 8-5 morning line favorite for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic (1 1/8 miles), one of ten restricted stakes offered on Saturday’s 13-race card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. First post will be at noon CT, one hour earlier than usual. The Classic is carded as race 12. Traditional 50-cent Pick Five wagers will be offered in races one and nine.
A 4-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby, the Steve Asmussen-trained Shang is seven for 14 lifetime, with four of those wins coming in Lousiana-bred stakes. In his most recent start on July 4 at Evangeline Downs, Shang rallied from mid-pack to take the Louisiana Legends Turf. Ricardo Santana, Jr. has the call from post seven of eight.
Drawn just to Shang’s outside is the 5-2 second choice, Mallory Richard’s Underpressure. A career earner of nearly $744,582, the 6-year-old gelded son of Birdstone is a 13-time winner from 37 lifetime opportunities. The winner of seven restricted stakes, this will be the Chris Richard-trainees’ fourth try in the Louisiana Classic. The winner of the 2018 edition over a sloppy track, he was third in 2017 and again last year. Fair Grounds’ current leading rider James Graham has the call from post eight.
Completing the Louisiana Champions Day Classic field from the rail out: Whitney Zeringue, Jr.’s (owner and trainer) Freedomfi, the winner of 2 of 18 starts (post 1 at 20-1 with Mitchell Murrill); Kirk Rovinsky’s Social Afleet, most recently sixth off the $20,000 claim in the B-Connected Stakes at Delta Downs on November 24 for trainer Sarah Delany (post 2 at 20-1 with Marcelino Pedroza); Gerrard Perron’s (owner and trainer) Grand Luwegee, who is winless since posting an upset victory in thee Premier Night Championship at Delta in February of 2019 (post 3 at 10-1 with Colby Hernandez); Baronne Farm’s Sydster, who won the Crescent City Derby for trainer Eddie Johnston on March 21 at Fair Grounds (post 4 at 5-1 with Florent Geroux – cross entered in the Turf); Pine Knoll Farm LLC’s Jus Lively, who just missed in the B-Connected Stakes on November 24 at Delta Downs last out for trainer Steve Asmussen (8-1 with Adam Beschizza); and Double Dan Farm LLC’s and trainer Delmar Caldwell’s Mageez, who has won ten races and banked $578,755 in a 50-race career.
Ninety One Assault Returns to Defend Champions Day Turf Crown
Seven-year-old Gelding Owns Six Wins from Nine Tries on FG Lawn
Thomas Morley and Paul Braveman’s Ninety One Assault, who stormed home to an impressive victory in last year’s edition, is slated to take on ten rivals as the 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. Contested over 1 1/16 miles on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, it will be run as race 11 of 13 on the card.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who has won five of his six tries aboard the seven-year-old gelding, will partner with him once again, and the dynamic duo will leave from post nine for trainer Tom Morley. Campaigned on the East Coast when Fair Grounds is dark for live racing, Ninety One Assault was last seen finishing sixth in the Artie Schiller, a race named for his sire, on November 14 at Aqueduct.
Claimed for just $12,500 in August of 2019, Budro Talking would finish third in last year’s Louisiana Turf Classic just four months later for trainer Karl Broberg. Claimed again for $17,500 by owner Jack Randall and trainer Keith Austin, the five-year-old gelded son of Tale of Ekati has rattled off consecutive wins for his current connections, including the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start on September 19. He will break from post two on Saturday with Florent Geroux in tow.
Completing the Louisiana Champions Day Turf field from the rail out: Snake Racing LLC’s Treys Midnight Moon, a former $5,000 claimer who has gone on to win ten races and bank $233,665 (post 1 with James Graham at 10-1 for trainer Coralle “Bunky” Rickards); E and M Scherer Racing and trainer Eric Scherer’s Musical Man, who is two for 16 lifetime (post 3 with Adam Beschizza at 30-1); Brittlyn Stable Inc.’s Guitar Tribute, who has hit the board in four consecutive starts for trainer Jose Camejo (post 4 with Ricardo Santana, Jr. at 20-1); Lane Cortez and trainer Ron Faucheux’s Afleet Ascent, who has banked over $200,000 but enters on a 16-race losing streak (post 5 with Gabriel Saez at 10-1); Columbine Stable LLC’s Unrestricted, who has won four of ten lifetime starts and three of his last four for trainer Al Stall, Jr. (post 6 with Colby Hernandez at 12-1); Jeanne Marie Dolan’s (owner and trainer) Changi, who returns to Louisiana-bred company after competing against graded stakes company in three of his last five starts (post 7 with Mitchell Murrill at 8-1); Carl R. Moore Management LLC’s Carlea’s Dream, who will face fellow Louisiana-breds for the first time in 11 career starts off a recent runner-up performance in a second-level turf allowance on the Remington Park turf (post 8 with Brian Hernandez, Jr. at 8-1); Baronne Farm’s Sydster, who won the Crescent City Derby for trainer Eddie Johnston on March 21 at Fair Grounds (post 10 at 5-1 with Florent Geroux – cross entered in the Classic); Gerard Perron’s (owner and trainer) Kingdom Way, who won a restricted first-level allowance race on the Louisiana Downs turf in September in his most recent start (post 11 with Angel Suarez at 30-1); and the lone also eligible, Alston Thoroughbreds LLC, Earl J Hernandez and J. Duvieilh’s Jax Man, who has won two Louisiana-bred allowance races this year (post 12 with Marcelino Pedroza at 12-1).
Laughingsaintssong and Takes Two to Tango Renew Acquaintances in Louisiana Champions Day Sprint
One-two finishers from 2019 Edition Square Off Again
Sent off at odds of 5-1 in last year’s Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, Rodney J. Verrent’s Laughingsaintssong wired 11 rivals in a sizzling final time for the day of 1:10.19 for trainer Allen Landry and jockey Colby Hernandez, who will be reunited with the 6-year-old gelding for the repeat attempt on Saturday. Eight others, including 2019 runner-up Takes Two to Tango, will oppose the 5-2 favorite in the six furlong dash.
Laughingsaintssong has ten wins on his resume, with four of those coming in stakes. The 6-year-old gelded son of Songandaprayer faded to fifth as the 2.20-1 favorite in his most recent start, the Louisiana Cup Sprint on September 19 at Louisiana Downs. He will break from post four in Saturday’s ninth race.
Dismissed at odds of nearly 70-1 in last year’s Sprint, Melissa Cantacuzene’s Takes Two to Tango battled with Laughingsaintssong every step of the way, only to lose a length decision for trainer J. Luis Garcia. The four-year-old gelded son of Half Hours followed up with a second place finish in the open Stonerside Sprint at Sam Houston on January 26, but he hasn’t raced since. Florent Geroux will ride for the first time on Saturday and the team will leave from post three at 4-1.
Completing the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint field from the rail out: Allen Cassidy’s Bertie’s Galaxy, a five-time winner since being claimed for $20,000 by trainer Ron Faucheux in January of 2019 (post 1 with Erica Murray at 7-2); Ivery Sisters Racing’s Monte Man, who has won 12 races, seven of them stakes, since being claimed by trainer Ron Faucheux in October of 2017 (post 2 with Adam Beschizza at 4-1); Set-Hut LLC’s X Clown, winner of the Louisiana Futurity in nearly one year ago at Fair Grounds for Jerry Delhomme (post 5 with James Graham at 20-1); Valene Farms LLC’s Classy John, winner of the 2018 Louisiana Futurity for trainer Dallas Stewart (post 6 with Brian Hernandez, Jr. at 15-1); Columbus Circle Partner and Steve Margolis’ (owner and trainer) Yankee Seven, a three-time winner from 11 starts (post seven with Miguel Mena at 8-1); Brittlyn Stable Inc’s Win Ya Win, who was most recently second in a first-level allowance sprint at Delaware Park on September 19 for trainer Jose Camejo; and Richard B. Benton’s Silver Galaxy, who has won two of his last three starts for trainer Joseph M. Foster (post 9 with Mitchell Murrill at 12-1).
Net a Bear Tries to Repeat in Deep Ladies Turf
Louisiana-bred Turf Stars Shine on Champions Day
Defending champion Net a Bear will have to up her game when she looks to defend her title in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, as she meets an ultra-competitive group of six rivals. Run at about 1 1/16 miles, the Ladies Turf has several with credentials to shine, including state-bred stakes winner Is Too, along with morning line favorite Room to Finish. The Ladies Turf is carded for race eight.
Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro’s Net a Bear (post 6 at 3-1 on the morning line with Florent Geroux to ride) upset the Ladies Turf last year at over 12-1 for trainer Allen Landry but will be a fraction of that as she looks to double up over a Stall-Wilson turf course that she’s 2-for-3 over. The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Bet was a relative unknown on the turf last year in the Ladies Turf, as she had run just once over the grass leading up to the race, but showed no ill effects as she closed from last in the field-of-10 to win going away over Room to Finish. Net a Bear, who is 4-for-18 lifetime, showed her Ladies Turf win was no fluke when she beat fellow state breds here in the local Red Camelia in March but will need to rebound off a troubled fifth in the Louisiana Cup Distaff at Louisiana Downs September 19, when she finished behind Is Too and Room to Finish.
Baronne Farms LLC’s Is Too (post 2 at 3-1 with Miguel Mena) looked good winning the Louisiana Cup Distaff for trainer Edward Johnston and figures a major presence from on or just off the pace. The 5-year-old daughter of Midshipman is 7-for-22 lifetime and has been a gem of consistency in the state-bred stakes ranks the past few years, as she also won the Louisiana Cup Distaff at Louisiana Downs in 2019, while hitting the board in four others, though she’ll look to make amends for a surprising sixth-place finish in last year’s Ladies Turf.
West Point Thoroughbreds, Forge Ahead Stables LLC, and Jerry Caroom’s Room to Finish (post 5 at 5-2 with Adam Beschizza) couldn’t match strides with Net a Bear late last year and had to settle for second and is still in search of her first career stakes win for trainer Wayne Catalano. The 5-year-old daughter of Giant Oak is 4-for-8 lifetime over the local lawn and 6-for-19 overall and tuned up with a solid third behind Is Too in the Louisiana Cup Distaff.
Completing the Ladies Turf field from the rail out: Elite Thoroughbred Racing LLC’s Marywood (12-1 with Mitchell Murrill), who figures to set the early pace for trainer Lee Thomas; Linda Sternberger’s Alliaceous (post 3 at 6-1 with Santo Sanjur), a close fourth behind Is Too in the Louisiana Cup Distaff for trainer Tucker Alonzo; Oak Tree Stable’s Offspring (post 4 at 9-2 with Brian Hernandez Jr.), who rates an upset look off the claim for Joe Sharp, as she’s 2-for-2 over the Fair Grounds turf; and James Evans’ Lil Ashley B. (post 7 at 20-1 with Aubrie Green), a three-time winner over the turf at Louisiana Downs for trainer Kathleen Mordenti.
Mr. Al’s Gal Looms Large in Ladies Sprint
Versatile Miss Tough to Beat from Close Range
Brittlyn Stable Inc’s Mr. Al’s Gal looks tough to beat in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint as she enters off a quartet of strong runs against open company. Run at 6 furlongs, the Ladies Sprint drew a field-of-8, including five stakes winners, though it’s the veteran Mr. Al’s Gal who looks poised to build on a stellar state-bred resume that she’s amassed in five seasons of racing. The Ladies Sprint is programmed as race seven.
Mr. Al’s Gal (post 2 at 3-1 on the morning line with Adam Beschizza to ride) has long been one of the pillars in the state-bred stakes ranks for trainer Jose Camejo, as she’s 14-for-33 lifetime, with $657,330 in earnings, helped buoyed by a win in the local Louisiana Futurity all the way back in 2016, when she was a 2-year-old making just her third career start. Now 6, the daughter of Salute the Sarge will look to win her seventh state-bred stakes, and her first since taking the Louisiana Legend Distaff in May 2018 at Evangeline Downs. Mr. Al’s Gal has kept some salty company of late, as she enters off a second in the Very One on the turf at Pimlico October 1, and will look to build on her 3-for-7 mark over the Fair Grounds’ main track.
Tin Roof Farms LLC’s Snowball (post 3 at 9-2 with Shaun Bridgmohan) has won a pair of state-bred stakes this year for trainer Samuel Breaux, including the Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint September 19 at Louisiana Downs. The 4-year-old daughter of Apriority, who is 5-for-22 lifetime, also took the Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle at Evangeline in July but will look to win her first start at Fair Grounds, as she’s 6-0-3-1 over the local main track. Snowball has won three straight and has a strong closing kick in a race that figures to have an honest early pace.
Completing the Ladies Sprint field from the rail out: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez, and John Duvieilh’s homebred Southern Liaison (5-1 with Marcelino Pedroza), who is 4-for-5 lifetime but steps up for trainer Sam David; Tri-Star Racing LLC’s Our Lost Love (post 4 at 6-1 with Mitchell Murrill), who won the Louisiana Futurity here in last December for trainer Joseph M. Foster; Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables Inc’s homebred Steph’sfullasugar (post 5 at 8-1 with Colby Hernandez), who won the LA Bred Premier Night Starlet at Delta Downs in February for trainer Al Stall Jr.; Corinne and Bill Heiligbrodt’s Vacherie Girl (post 6 at 8-1 with Ricardo Santana Jr.), a three-time restricted state-bred stakes winner for trainer Steve Asmussen; Allied Racing Stable LLC’s Southern Beauty (post 7 at 8-1 with Gabriel Saez), making her stakes debut for trainer Bret Calhoun; and Nexus Racing Club and trainer Dallas Stewart’s Diamond Crazy (post 8 at 7-2 with Brian Hernandez Jr.), who won three straight over state breds here last winter.
Sir Wellington, No Pedigree Drop in for Juvenile
Open Runners Tackle a Slew of State-Bred Stars
Something will have to give when Sir Wellington and No Pedigree, who have yet to make a start against state-bred runners, descend on Fair Grounds to face a deep and talented field of 10 locally-based 2-year-olds in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. And while several who have seen action in the Bayou State have distinguished themselves, it’s the two invaders who figure to hold a class edge in the 6-furlong dash. The Juvenile is carded for race ten.
Xtreme Racing Stables LLC’s Sir Wellington (post 7 at 3-1 on the morning line with Marcelino Pedroza to ride) has acquitted himself nicely in three starts against open foes for the father-son training team of Mac and Hugh Robertson. The son of Palace aired on debut in August at Delaware Park then was second in an optional-claimer at Laurel Park in October before running fifth in the Nyquist November 6 Breeders’ Cup Weekend at Keeneland. Sir Wellington should not only enjoy some serious class relief, but has shown a stalking gear in his last two starts, which should come in handy in a stake that looks to have plenty of early speed.
Reddam Racing LLC’s No Pedigree (post 5 at 5-1 with Adam Beschizza) brings some California speed to the party after dueling on the lead on debut in the Speakeasy on turf at Santa Anita in September and an MSW on the dirt at Del Mar November 8. The son of Half Ours made those two fifth-place runs for trainer Doug O’Neill and will be saddled by Brendan Walsh for the first time in the Juvenile. No Pedigree was a pricey $185,000 2-year-old in training purchase and could last a lot longer on the lead, as not only is he facing easier, but adds Lasix as well.
Trainer Allen Landry’s Chu Chu’s Legacy (post 4 at 9-2 with Colby Hernandez) is clearly best among the locals, as the son of Bind is 3-for-4 lifetime, which includes stakes wins in the D. S. Shine Young Futurity at Evangeline Downs in August and Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs September 19.
Completing the Juvenile field from the rail out: DW2 Equine LLC’s Ebony Flash (15-1 with Odilon Martinez), a closing on debut winner November 28 at Delta Downs for trainer Ronnie Ward; Tri-Star Racing LLC’s Ready for Love (post 2 at 8-1 with Mitchell Murrill), a maiden after three starts for trainer Joseph M. Foster who is also cross-entered in Saturday’s Race 13 MSW; Set-Hut LLC’s Fifty Protection (post 3 at 12-1 with Shaun Bridgmohan), also cross-entered for Race 13 for trainer Jeff Delhomme; Commonwealth Stable 3 LLC and On Our Own Stable LLC’s War Savvy (post five at 15-1 with Brian Hernandez Jr.), third here on debut November 27 for trainer Dallas Stewart; Linda Sternberger’s K T;s Jilted Groom (post 8 at 30-1 with Miguel Mena), winless in two starts for trainer Tucker Alonzo; Niketa Bellard’s Cohere (post 9 at 8-1 with Aubrie Green), a dueling debut winner here November 28 for trainer Jason Meaux; Respect the Valley LLC’s Standing Perfect (post 10 at 8-1 with Florent Geroux), who wired going two turns on debut on the turf at Louisiana Downs September 16 for trainer Lee Thomas; trainer Jennifer Johnson’s Amicus Brief (post 11 at 20-1 with Gabriel Saez), 1-for-5 facing open company at Mountaineer Park for Johnson and who will now run for trainer Grant Forster; and William Dees Janets Jay Jay (post 12 at 12-1 with Santo Sanjur), fourth in a local state-bred allowance November 29 for Alonzo.
Rue Lala, Taylor Avenue, Big Time Clash in Lassie
Wide Open Stakes Pits Several Talented State Breds
Contention runs deep in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, as nine lightly raced 2-year-old fillies meet the starter in the hopes of securing their first career stakes win. Run at 6 furlongs, the Lassie could be a showdown between Rue Lala, who is stakes-placed in the Louisiana-bred ranks, and Taylor Avenue and Big Time, who will face state breds for the first time. The Lassie is programmed as race five.
Spendthrift Farm LLC and Corinne and Bill Heiligbrodt’s Rue Lala (post 1 at 4-1 on the morning line with Ricardo Santana Jr. to ride) made a fine first impression, as she won by 7 ¼ length on debut at Louisiana Downs in September for trainer Steve Asmussen then was second to state-bred star Mirabeau in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies there September 19. The daughter of Louisiana-bred legend Star Guitar scratched out of a local state-bred allowance November 27 to run here and looks a major player from on or just off the early lead.
Commonwealth New Era Racing’s Taylor Avenue (post 2 at 9-2 with Adam Beschizza) stalked and won on debut at Indiana Brand in September then was third in an allowance there November 12 for trainer Bret Calhoun. The daughter of Mshawish settled nicely in both starts and should benefit from what looks to be a potentially hot and contested pace in the Lassie.
Valene Farms LLC’s Big Time shocked a group of open maidens at 38-1 on debut at Churchill Downs June 18 for trainer Dallas Stewart but hasn’t been seen since. The daughter of Astrology dueled throughout and held by a neck and shows a slew of strong works for her return, and will add Lasix as well.
Completing the Lassie field: Brittlyn Stable Inc’s homebred Spirited Beauty (post 3 at 6-1 with Angel Suarez), who broke her maiden over open company at Delaware Park in September for trainer Jose Camejo; Valene Farms LLC’s homebred Platinum Sky (post 4 at 12-1 with Gabriel Saez), winless in three starts for Steward and cross-entered in an MSW Sunday; Set-Hut LLC’s homebred Mrs. Judy (post 6 at 5-1 with Shaun Bridgmohan), a smart local debut winner November 26 for trainer Jeff Delhomme; Love Partnership Interests LP’s homebred Twin Sisters (post 7 at 12-1 with Colby Hernandez), who won on debut at Evangeline Downs in August but was last-of-11 behind Mirabeau in the D. S. Shine Young Futurity there August 29 for trainer Karl Broberg; Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s Tecate Time (post 8 at 8-1 with Mitchell Murrill), a distant second in the November 27 state-bred allowance for trainer Steve Flint; and Oak Tree Stables LLC’s Strummer (post 9 at 12-1 with Francisco Arrieta), fourth behind Platinum Sky on debut for trainer Scott Gelner.