Martin Racing Stable & Carl Moore Management’s Cheerleader
was in control from start to finish and easily prevailed by a half-length over New Phoenix Stable & Coffeepot Stables’ favored Imposing Grace in Thursday’s $49,000 allowance/$40,000 claiming feature at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Ridden by Miguel Mena for leading trainer Bret Calhoun, Cheerleader completed the one mile and 70-yard distance in 1:44.48 over a main track rated “fast.” With her third victory in four starts, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred by Empire Maker raised her career earnings to $76,000. She returned $5.40, $3 and $3.
Cheerleader cruised through opening fractions of 24.30, 48.32 and 1:13.66 and drew off in upper stretch before tiring a bit in the final yards.
It was the winner’s first start in more than a year. As a 3-year-old she was a first-out winner before jumping into the Grade I Alcibiades at Keenneland, where she finished last of 13. She beat winners for the first time at Fair Grounds early last season before going on the shelf for 13 months.
Imposing Grace returned $2.80 and $2.40, while Ivan Dalos’ Silver Ami paid $3.20 to show.
Live racing resumes Friday with a 10-race card for the first Starlight Racing night of the season starting at 5 p.m.