The Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap on Jan.
22, the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 19 and the Grade II
Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap March 26 – all scheduled for the
Stall-Wilson turf course – make up the dates of Fair Grounds’ three graded
stakes grass series in 2011.
Bradley ’Cap comes up as part of Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by
Hotel Monteleone, the Fair Grounds ’Cap falls on Louisiana Derby Preview
Day Presented by Lamarque Ford, and the Mervin Muniz Memorial ‘Cap is part
of the Louisiana Derby Day program on the penultimate day of Fair
Grounds’ 2010-2011 racing season.
Interestingly, only one horse – B. Wayne Hughes’ Joyeux
Danseur in 1998, trained by Al Stall Jr. and ridden by Robby
Albarado – has swept the series since its inception that same season, but
one newly-turned 4-year-old who should be considered a prime candidate to try
to repeat that feat in this season’s turf series is Sam-Son Farms’ Red
Strike, third in Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes, scheduled
for the grass but moved to the main track on a rainy New Year’s Eve.
Prior to the Woodchopper, Red Strike was undefeated in two
starts, both over the Canadian lawn at Woodbine, but even after the switch to
the main track, the public had enough faith in the son of Smart Strike to back
him down to odds-on favoritism. However, all that confidence was compromised
when the homebred stumbled badly coming out of the gate.
Was it the bad break that beat him? “Oh, yeah,” said a
mud-spattered jockey James Graham immediately after the race.
The next morning, Red Strike’s trainer Mark Frostad seemed
“It (the stumble) didn’t help,” said Frostad, “but he
didn’t get hurt either. He came back fine, and this morning he looks like he
hadn’t even run. When he left the gate it looked like he put his nose right in
the ground, and the more I look at the start I’m surprised that James didn’t
Was the upcoming Stall-Wilson turf series in Red Strike’s
future? “I would think so,” said Frostad.