Valene Farms’ Ante Up Annie
responded gamely when challenged by Carole Rio and Margaret Barton’s Mucho Mans Gold in a thrilling stretch duel and prevailed by a half-length over that rival in Saturday’s featured $60,000 Sarah Lane’s Oates at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
The race, restricted to 3-year-old accredited Louisiana-bred fillies, was originally carded at about one mile over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course but was taken off the grass and run on the main track at one mile and 70 yards – a development that proved advantageous to the winner.
“I’m pleased it was (run) on the dirt,” said winning trainer Dallas Stewart of his filly who has never run on grass. “She’s a very nice filly. Murray (co-owner Murray Valene) gave us a very nice filly to train and she’s proved it all along.”
Ante Up Annie, who was scoring her third win in a row, returned mutuels of $4.60. $2.60 and $2.20 as the choice of the fans, toured the mile in 1:45.34 and increased her earnings to $88,680 with that third win from five lifetime starts.
“She’s really professional,” said winning rider Brian Hernandez Jr. “She’s coming around better with each race.”
Mucho Mans Gold made the pace with early splits of 24.26 and 48.72, gave way grudgingly in the late stages but was easily second best, paying $3 and $2.80 while finishing 4 3/4-lengths in front of Sandra Duke’s Dreamglider, who returned $5.20.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a nine-race program beginning at 1 p.m.Winner’s Quotes
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Ante Up Annie, winner): “She is really professional. She’s coming around with each race. She’s only run four times now and she’s gotten better and better. Today she broke and put us in the race and I was just a good passenger.”
Mucho Mans Gold put on a good fight until the end? “Yeah, she did. I was a little surprised. I thought I’d just run away from her inside the eighth-pole and the filly, the four-horse on the inside, put up a good fight and fought us all the way to the wire but we were on the better horse today.”
Trainer Dallas Stewart (Ante Up Annie, winner): “She’s a very nice filly. Murray [Valene, owner] gave us a nice filly to train and, you know, she’s won her last three so we think she has a lot in her future so we are hoping for the best.”
What’s next? “We’ll challenge her. We’ll step her out of the state program and see what we got and how we line up against those. She is very nice. She can run all day long.”NOTE
: The race was taken off the turf and run on the main track at one mile and 70 yards.