Veteran jockey Shane Sellers,
lately surging as “The Comeback Kid” after being away from competition for
four-and-a-half years, came from worst to first astride the appropriately-named
Clear Sailing to win Saturday’s featured $60,000 Pelleteri Stakes
by a neck to give Sellers a riding triple for the day.
The win by Clear Sailing, owned by
Coteau Farm and trained by Glenn Delahoussaye, vaulted the 4-year-old
daughter of Empire Maker into the picture as one of the more prominent older
fillies in the nation in a division currently topped by Horse of the Year
Rachel Alexandra and Champion Older Female Zenyatta.
“I decided I was going to be a hero or a
zero,” said Sellers of his decision to take the filly back to last until the
stretch run. “I had complete confidence in her. She’s one of the best fillies
I’ve ever ridden. She’s a freak.”
it appears likely that Clear Sailing will meet Rachel Alexandra one month from
today in the March 13 New Orleans Ladies.
the timing is right and my horse is healthy and we can add to our horse’s
résumé, we won’t hesitate,” Delahoussaye said. “I can’t worry about who else
will be in there.”
win aboard Clear Sailing also foiled the duo of Eclipse-Award winning trainer Steve
Asmussen and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan’s bid for a six-race sweep of
their afternoon’s races – which would have equaled a record-setting feat that
same duo established at Fair Grounds on December 22, 2007.
War Echo, the Asmussen-Bridgmohan
representative in the Pelleteri, was odds-on in the Saturday stakes feature
with a chance to give them their six- pack, but she finished third, beaten a
length by Clear Sailing and three-quarters of a length behind runner-up Fighter
Wing, who is owned by Jim Tafel.
“She tried,” said Bridgmohan of War
Echo’s effort. “She ran right down to the wire and just couldn’t get them. They
were going pretty slow and didn’t give her much space to work with.”
Bridgmohan, incidentally, hit the
2,000th career win milestone in the first race of the day aboard Heiligbrodt
Racing’s Outfitter before adding four more during the afternoon.
Clear Sailing returned mutuels of $10,
$5.20 and $2.10, accomplished the mile-and-one-sixteenth distance
in 1:46.06, and increased her
career earnings to $92,940 with her third win in four lifetime starts.
Fighter Wing, who made the pace with
early splits of 24.45 and 48.84, paid $33.20 and $5.60 while War Echo paid
$2.10 in the show position.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds
with an 11-race Valentine’s Day program beginning at 12:40 p.m.