This Saturday, when Fair Grounds hosts its final local preps for this season’s
$1 million Louisiana Derby, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks,
$400,000 New Orleans Handicap and
$400,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap, the other contests on Saturday’s
12-race program tend to suffer something of an identity crisis.
That is unfortunate, because a fifth stakes race – the 25th anniversary edition of the
$75,000 Colonel Power Stakes at about 5 1/2-furlongs over Fair Grounds’
Stall-Wilson turf course – features a potential fifth meeting between Carl Moore’s
2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion
Chamberlain Bridge and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runner-up
Country Day, owned by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein.
Bridge, trained by Bret Calhoun, beat
Steve Margolis trainee Country Day by a length in their most recent face-off in Fair Grounds’
$75,000 Bonapaw Stakes Dec.
17, but he has celebrated his eighth birthday since that day. Country
Day, who has become a comparatively spry 6-year-old since the Bonapaw,
also was strongly compromised when bumped solidly
at the start of that race.
that in mind, Country Day has been installed as the slight morning line
favorite at 5-2 in the Colonel Power morning line, while the champion
Bridge is pegged a point higher at 3-1.
In their previous meeting in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Country Day finished second, while
Bridge finished a lackluster eighth.
However, one month before last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint during
Pennsylvania’s Parx Racing session,
Chamberlain Bridge ran third in the
Grade III Turf Monster Handicap and it was Country Day who finished eighth after being forced to steady in that
The rivals’ first
New Orleans battle came in the Colonel Power Stakes two years ago, with
Bridge winning that duel by three-quarters of a length while Country Day finished second.
Joe Hollywood, co-third
choice at 6-1 choice in the Colonel Power morning line, merits serious
consideration – especially if the race was transferred to the main track
due to inclement weather.
the Florida-bred 4-year-old is winless in two starts over grass going,
Joe Hollywood has run well over it, finishing second by three-quarters
of a length in one of those.
Trained by 10-time Fair Grounds trainer champion and current leading conditioner
Steve Asmussen, Joe Hollywood finished third in Fair Grounds’
$75,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes
on the main track in his last start Jan. 21, was also third in the
$75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap on opening day over that same surface, and
advanced steadily up the allowance
ranks with back-to-back wins at Monmouth Park last year.
Jamie Theriot and James Graham return respectively astride
Bridge and Country Day, while Shaun Bridgmohan gets the mount aboard Joe Hollywood this weekend.
Completing the Colonel Power line-up, with its corresponding riding assignments, is the Estate of Oliver Pierce’s
Sweetsouthernmoon, Miguel Mena; Maynard Chatters’
Southern Style, Edgar Prado; Dwight Sprague’s
Cactus Son, Shane Sellers; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s
Lonesome Street, Javier Castellano; Ike and Dawn Thrash’s
Heir Joe, Robby Albarado; John Eaton and Steve Laymon’s
Zeb, Rosie Napravnik; Sadie and Ronnie Moore’s
Uno Ducksy, Richard Eramia; and Carol Waller’s
Smokethruakeyhole, Ramsey Zimmerman.