Kirk Robison’s Grand Slam Andre,
a multiple stakes winner on the main track but unstarted on grass, has been
installed as the strong 7-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s traditional
$60,000 Black Gold Stakes for 3-year-olds, scheduled for about 5
1/2-furlongs over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.
The Black Gold is observing its 52nd
renewal after being named in honor of the first of two Louisiana Derby winners
that went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby. Black Gold accomplished
the double in 1924, 72 years before Grindstone equaled the feat in 1996.
Grand Slam Andre, conditioned by
defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, comes into the
Black Gold off a win in Sunland’s $107,000 Riley Allison Futurity Dec. 29.
Earlier last year, the son of Grand Slam won Lone
$67,000 Middleground Stakes in July and Remington’s $50,000 Clever Trevor in
August before finishing sixth in Saratoga’s
Grade I Hopeful in September. Shane Sellers, who has ridden the colt
twice in stakes company, returns in the saddle on Saturday.
Peter Redekop’s Comedero, second
choice in the Black Gold morning line at 5-2, disappointed as the favorite in
Remington’s $200,000 Springboard Mile in his last start Dec. 13 but was
undefeated before that, including a pair of stakes victories in Fair Grounds’
$56,000 Old Hickory Nov. 7 and Louisiana Downs’ $50,000 Razorback Futurity Oct.
3. Brian Hernandez Jr. gets the mount.
Completing the Black Gold field is L T B
Inc. et al’s Vito Filitto, Pat Valenzuela aboard; Cathy and Bob Zollars’
Saluting Stormye, Shaun Bridgmohan; and Richard Rudolph’s Royal
Express, James Graham up.
Rachel Alexandra Enjoys Thursday
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra
enjoyed a “happy gallop” once around the Fair Grounds main track Thursday
morning at about 6:30 a.m., according to Fair Grounds clocker Billy
“She looked great doing it,” said
Pettingill. “She came out right after Asmussen’s first set so they could see
where the going was best on the off track. Dominic Terry was aboard, she
was accompanied by Scott Blasi (trainer Steve Asmussen’s assistant)
going to the track and she was kept well off the rail during the gallop.”
Mississippi Owners/Breeders Stakes Featured Friday
On Friday, Pop-A-Top’s Red Hot Buddha,
heroine of Louisiana Downs’ $50,000 Princess Stakes July 18 but a
disappointment when eighth in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Tiffany Lass on Jan. 23,
has been tabbed the 8-5 morning line choice in Fair Grounds’ 15th running of
the $40,000 South Mississippi Owners/Breeders Stakes.
Bridgmohan Approaching 2,000-Win
With 1,994 career wins to his credit,
jockey Shaun Bridgmohan could technically reach the 2,000-win milestone
Friday with a near-perfect day.
Bridgmohan is scheduled for five mounts
Friday when he is listed on Fifty Starlet, 8-1 in the first; Cnola
, 8-1 in the second; La Raska, 3-1 in the fourth; Song of Sixpence,
8-1 in the fifth; and Ocean Colors, 2-1 in Friday’s sixth event.