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Battle Plan Delivers in New Orleans

Overbrook Farm’s regally-bred Battle Plan invaded from his South Florida base to score a front-running 1 ½-length victory over General Quarters in his stakes debut, Saturday’s Grade II, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.


Battle Plan ran 1 1/8 miles over a “fast” main track in 1:49.33. Jockey Javier Castellano rode the winner for trainer Todd Pletcher. Assistant trainer Mike Dilger saddled Battle Plan in Pletcher’s absence.


Battle Plan is a 5-year-old son by 2003 former champions Empire Maker, the 2003 Belmont Stakes winner, and Flanders, the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champ who was euthanized in mid-February following a paddock accident at John Magnier and partners’ Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.


Battle Plan returned $5.20, $3.40 and $2.60 as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 10 older horses.


Battle Plan, who broke from post 9 in the field of 10, went four-wide early and took command from longshot Big Polk a Dot before he entered the backstretch run. He galloped along on the front through fractions of :23.65, :47.11, 1:11.73 and 1:36.51.


General Quarters, sent postward as the 5-1 fourth betting choice, returned $5.60 and $4. Southern California invader Awesome Gem was another 2 ½ length back in third and paid $4.


Louisiana-bred Star Guitar, Giant Oak, Stones River, Stonehouse, Tone It Down, Hold Me Back and Big Polk a Dot completed the order of finish.

Battle Plan banked $180,000 for the victory, which jumped his earnings to $246,864. It was his fourth win in five starts. Following a bad defeat in his career debut in late 2008, Battle Plan has rattled off four victories in a row. He entered the New Orleans Handicap off a five-length romp in an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 18.



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