Preston Stables’ Central City is the 9-5 morning
line choice in Saturday’s $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes – just one of
five stakes scheduled for this weekend’s Santa Super Saturday Presented by Daily
Racing Form at Fair Grounds – but the long-range plans of Central City,
runner-up in the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 6, make
him the star of Saturday’s pre-Christmas Crescent City show.
That’s because following the Bonapaw, and perhaps another
appearance at the New Orleans oval, Central City is being penciled in for a
trip to the Group 2, $1 million Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Race Course in Dubai.
The $60,000 Bonapaw, at about 5 1/2-furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course,
fit well into the son of City Place’s schedule as his connections look to keep
him in top form for a few more months.
“It’s a spot for him, and there are not a lot of spots for
him,” said trainer Ronny Werner of the Bonapaw on Thursday morning. “We
want to keep him sharp. He’s doing well right now and our biggest goal is going
so you know we’ve got to stay sharp for that. You’ve only got five tracks doing
grass races right now, and everybody tends to congregate in one spot so you get
these deeper, tougher fields. But we’re going to keep him sharp.
Werner said the Al Quoz is by invitation only and he is
currently in the process of securing a nod from the racing officials in the United
In the meantime, Central City will be a threat in multiple Fair Grounds stakes
“He may run twice here,” said Werner, who named the $60,000
Colonel Power Stakes on Feb. 19 as a possibility. “Normally, this turf course
sets up a little different. It’s really a come-from-off-of-it type of course,
and he’s more front end, so we’ll see.”
Should Central City’s possible trip to Dubai come to
fruition, one of his possible opponents could be Carl Moore Management’s Chamberlain
Bridge, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs and
winner of the last two editions of the Colonel Power.
Another run in the upcoming Colonel Power Feb. 19 at Fair
Grounds might also serve as Chamberlain
prep for the upcoming Group II grass sprint in Dubai.
SUGAR BOWL STAKES CELEBRATES 60TH ANNIVESARY
Grounds’ $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes will celebrate its 60th
anniversary this weekend as part of Santa Super Saturday.
The six-furlong sprint is for 2-year-olds, but two weeks
later those 2-year-olds become 3-year-olds, and if the sprinters of December
can go longer distances as 3-year-olds, this weekend’s Sugar Bowl could preview
candidates for the Grade III Lecomte Jan. 22, the Grade II Risen Star
Feb. 19 and the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 26.
One of the best examples so far of that preview was J. R.
Straus’s No Le Hace, trained by the late Homer Pardue, who won
the Sugar Bowl Stakes of 1971 and captured the 1972 Louisiana Derby 10 weeks
Jake Ballis’s Cheyann Belief, trained by Steve
Margolis, who saddled Robert and Lawana Low and Winmore LLC’s Cool
Bullet to win last year’s Sugar Bowl Stakes, is undefeated in two career
starts and has been installed as the tepid 5-2 morning line choice in the Sugar
Bowl, with Fair Grounds defending jockey champion Shaun Bridgmohan named
in the irons.
FASTATION FAVORED IN LETELLIER MEMORIAL
Racing Stable’s Fastation, a winner of her last four starts – all in
stakes company – has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for
Saturday’s $60,000 Letellier Memorial for 2-year-old fillies, but is
expected to face strong competition from 2-1 second choice Unbridled Praise,
owned by Richard Davis, who won last summer’s $100,000 Sorority
Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Fastation is conditioned by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve
Asmussen and will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, while Unbridled
Praise comes from the barn of trainer Bret Calhoun and has Miguel
Mena slated for the saddle.
MAD FLATTER TENACIOUS ’CAP FAVORITE
Farm, Holiday Stable, Bright Brook Farm and Hinkle Farms’ Mad Flatter,
third beaten less than a length in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap
Sept. 4 at Arlington Park and the winner of Calder’s Grade III Spend a Buck
Handicap Oct. 16, has been pegged as the 5-2 morning line favorite in
Saturday’s $60,000 Tenacious Handicap despite having to shoulder the top
impost of 122 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile test.