Monte Man Hopes to Cap Perfect Year in LA Champions Day Sprint

11-17-2018 Monte Man piloted by Gabriel Saez won the Heitai Overnight Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr

From Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds Media Team:

Monte Man Goes for Undefeated Year in Louisiana Champions Day Sprint

  • Ninety One Assault Looks to Make Amends in Champions Day Turf
  • Remember Daisy Aims for Three in a Row in Ladies Turf
  • Wicked Indeed Meets Expectations in Friday Career Debut

MONTE MAN GOES FOR UNDEFEATED YEAR IN LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY SPRINT

Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots showcases some of the best equine talent that the Pelican State’s racing program has to offer. Of all the horses competing on Champions Day, Ivery Sisters Racing’s Monte Man has proven the most dominant in his division and he will attempt to solidify such dominance in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes.

Trained by Ron Faucheux, the 5-year-old son of Custom For Carlos is undefeated in six starts this year, all of which were against Louisiana-breds. He will look to close out his spotless 2018 campaign with a win on Saturday, December 8 and has put his winning ways on display at all four racetracks in Louisiana this year. Monte Man’s victories this season include a six-furlong allowance optional claiming win over the Fair Grounds main track on January 19, the Louisiana-Bred Premier Night Sprint Stakes at Delta Downs on February 10, the Costa Rising Stakes over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course on March 24, the Louisiana Legends Sprint Stakes at Evangeline Downs on May 26, the Louisiana Cup Sprint Stakes at Louisiana Downs on August 4 and most recently, the Heitai Overnight Stakes over a fast main track at Fair Grounds on November 17.

In the six-furlong Heitai Overnight Stakes, Monte Man went straight to the front under jockey Gabriel Saez and drew off at the top of the stretch to win by 2¾ lengths.

“He came out of his last race really well,” Faucheux said. “We just kind of used that race as more of a work than anything else because of the way it sets up with Champions Day being three weeks from the race. We didn’t work him in between.  He’s a sprint horse so we just kept him fresh by morning gallops and jogging. That’s the way we’ve handled it going in. He’s an easy horse to train so everything’s going the right way.”

11-18-2018 Monte Man, piloted by Gabriel Saez, won the Heitai Overnight Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, LA. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Faucheux claimed Monte Man back in October 2017 for $25,000 after a seventh-place finish at Belmont Park. He won his first start for his trainer on December 23 of last year when defeating his Louisiana-bred counterpart in a six-furlong allowance event over the local main track.

“We’re hoping to have a perfect year; if he can go the whole year without a loss against Louisiana bred company we would be ecstatic about that,” Faucheux said. “He seems to just handle things how they come. He’s been extremely consistent so I have no reason to believe that it would be any different coming into Saturday. We’re fortunate over the winter to have lots of spots to run. Champions Day is the big one. I love Champions Day. It’s the biggest day of racing for us Louisiana people, especially me being from New Orleans. It’s great for Louisiana racing so hopefully we can keep it going for him.”

In addition, Faucheux is hoping to score another big win for his owners, Ivery Sisters Racing.

“They’re great people: Brian, (wife) Isis and the three daughters (Zoey, Flynn and Harper),” Faucheux said. I’ve trained for them for quite some time now. He’s always stuck with us. To have a horse like this, I couldn’t be happier for him, he really deserves it.”

Gabriel Saez retains the mount aboard Monte Man who breaks from post three as the 7-5 morning line favorite.

Completing the field are Divine Bean (post one, 5-1, Colby Hernandez), Givemeaminit (post two, 4-1, Corey Lanerie), Jockamo’s Song (post four, 10-1, Mitchell Murill), Greeley Went West (post five, 12-1, James Graham), Jack Snipe’s (post six, 20-1, Miguel Mena), Adios Yankee (post seven, 20-1, Aubrie Green), Wonder Run (post eight, 8-1, Ricardo Santana, Jr.),

NINETY ONE ASSAULT LOOKS TO MAKE AMENDS IN CHAMPIONS DAY TURF

Ninety One Assault will attempt to make up for a troubled third last time out in the Mr. Sulu Overnight Stakes when he faces seven others in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes.

Owned by trainer Tom Morley in partnership with Paul Braverman, the 5-year-old son of Artie Schiller sat well off of a slow pace in the Mr. Sulu and was caught wide at the top of the stretch. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, Ninety One Assault managed to close late to finish third.

“On paper, the race looked like it was going to have a bit of speed but they set slow opening fractions and then he got vanned wide on the turn,” Morley said. “Overall the race was a good prep for Saturday. I don’t mind the post position and I still believe we’re the horse to beat.”

With heavy rain in Saturday’s forecast, Morley stated that the horse would likely scratch if taken off the turf, but would run if the race stays on. Morley would not be bothered by a soft or yielding turf course. Two starts ago, he finished third beaten a neck against open company at Belmont Park over a yielding going.

“I don’t think any turf condition hiders this horse,” Morley said. “If it came up soft or yielding that won’t bother him. As long as the race stays on the turf, he should run his race.”

Ninety One Assault is a two-time winner over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course when taking two allowance optional claiming events against Louisiana-breds this past March. His only other victory was a two-length maiden win at Belmont Park in October 2017.

REMEMBER DAISY AIMS FOR THREE IN A ROW IN LADIES TURF

Al and Bill Ulwelling’s Remember Daisy will attempt to win her third consecutive race in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf Stakes.

The 3-year-old daughter of Misremembered enters the mile-and-a-sixteenth event for Lousiana-bred fillies and mares off of a narrow victory in the Tom Benson Memorial Overnight Stakes on Opening Day, November 15. In her prior start, she romped home to victory by 10 lengths in a third-level state-bred allowance race at Delta Downs on October 26.

Trainer Gary Scherer says that Remember Daisy has continued to train according to expectations going into Saturday’s race.

“She looks pretty much the same as last time,” Scherer said. “She’s doing well and she’s ready to run. She’s facing some pretty tough ones in here.”

In her seven race career, Remember Daisy has proven that she is capable of winning at a high level on both dirt and turf. In only her third career start, she scored a 3½ length victory in the Louisiana-Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes on February 10 over a sloppy going at Delta Downs, which was also her first start on dirt.

Scherer isn’t too concerned despite the heavy rain scheduled for Saturday and stated that the filly would run whether or not the race is taken off the grass.

“One thing about Remember Daisy is that she can run either way,” Scherer said. “She runs about the same whether dirt, turf, slop or not so rain might not be bad for us. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if it came off the turf.”

Jockey Mitchell Murrill will retain the mount aboard Remember Daisy, who breaks from post four as the 3-1 morning line second choice.

Also entered in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf are Savvy Shipman (post one, 12-1, Corey Lanerie), Royal Alexandra(post two, 20-1, Jack Gilligan), Safari Calamari (post three, 20-1, Miguel Mena), Viva Vegas (post five, 5-2, Joe Bravo), Hyper Piper (post six, 15-1, Marcelino Pedroza), Bermuda Star (post seven, 7-2, Diego Saenz), Eskenformore (post eight, 6-1, James Graham) and Pacific Pink (post nine, 6-1, Colby Hernandez).

WICKED INDEED MEETS EXPECTATIONS IN FRIDAY CAREER DEBUT

Throughout the first few weeks of the Fair Grounds meet, racing fans have been fortunate enough to see some young and promising talent on display. One of the more recent nice-looking juveniles to score a win at the New Orleans oval was Wicked Indeed, who broke his maiden at first asking on Friday evening for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, the 2-year-old son of Tapit is a full-brother to Grade II winners My Miss Lilly and Just Wicked.

“He’s a big pretty colt like all the other foals out of the mare,” said Winchell’s Racing and Bloodstock Manager David Fiske. “He’s a full-brother to two graded stakes winning fillies so we fairly high expectations for him. Everything that she produced of racing age is a winner.”

In his career debut, Wicked Indeed survived an inquiry for bumping with runner-up Chase The Ghost in mid-stretch.  An odd occurrence took place during the stretch run when a black cat ran across the stretch at the sixteenth pole as the horses approached the eighth pole.

“I thought his race was one the more entertaining races of the year,” Fiske said. “The bumping resulting in the inquiry and there was the black cat that ran across the sixteenth pole. I guess that only happens in New Orleans! We thought he would run well and he looked like pretty composed in the post parade. He always has been pretty laid back. He didn’t seem to mind the contact that much, just went ion about his business and ran through the wire. As far as I know he came out of the race well, we’ll have to see what’s available down the road.”

Wicked Indeed’s dam is three-time winner Wicked Deed, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday who won the Tiffany Lass Stakes over the Fair Grounds main track as a 3-year-old. He was ridden to victory by jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr.

We never lost confidence in her.  We worked with her and got her to run a good race today–thank God. Mike (Smith) and I both thought she went too fast early last time (when well beaten as favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 4), and she didn’t finish. Today, he let her lay a little off the pace and kept her wide and she finished well.  I have confidence in Unique Bella.  She gets into it and I thought she’d beat her (Paradise Woods), and down the lane, she did it.

Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer of Unique Bella, who won the G1 La Brea at Santa Anita on Dec. 26

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