Fair Grounds will
showcase a number of high-class Thoroughbreds this weekend, including 2008
American 1000 Guineas heroine Much Obliged
in Saturday’s 37th renewal of the $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap, as well as
last summer’s Grade III Washington Park Handicap winner Gran Estreno in Sunday’s $49,000
middle distance turf feature.
However, the horse with
the most potential to ignite interest from the general public who will be
running at Fair Grounds on the first weekend of 2010 is Last Mango Racing
Stable’s Daddy Forty Nine, a
3-year-old son of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper going to the post in
Sunday’s 10th race.
Ghostzapper was honored
for his undefeated season in the past, but as a newly-turned sophomore, Daddy
Forty Nine is of the generation that will point to the upcoming $750,000 Louisiana Derby March 27 and the
Kentucky Derby five weeks after that.
Those are races that draw
the future interest of racing’s more casual fans, but when it comes to
Daddy Forty Nine, who has won four races in six career starts, there is more
than that excellent race record to pique his public persona.
Mango Racing Stable is a group put together by Greg Bensel, vice president of
communications for the New Orleans Saints,
and the group also includes the team’s blessedly talented quarterback Drew Brees.
Other prominent NFL
celebrities that are members of Last Mango include Mike Tirico, lead broadcaster for ESPN’s presentation of
Monday Night Football as well as Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski as the remainder of that crew.
Gruden, who coached the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers to become 2003 Super Bowl champions, is the newest member
of the Monday Night Football crew as well as the newest member of Last Mango.
Jaworski, nicknamed the
“Polish Rifle” during his days as a quarterback with the Los
Angeles Rams, eventually led the 1980 Philadelphia Eagles to their lone Super
Bowl appearance at the end of that season three decades before joining
Monday Night Football and Last Mango.
celebrity that is part of Last Mango Racing is Jimmy Buffet, a former street musician who parlayed success
with his first hit single “Margaritaville” into his current
financial empire, but also part of the Last Mango group are a number of
Bensel’s golfing buddies.
However, it is Maggi Moss, a former leading owner in
number of races won during a season, who should take part of the credit for
Last Mango Racing’s current ownership of Daddy Forty Niner, according to
nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom
“Maggi was the most
recent owner of Daddy Forty Niner,” said Amoss, “and she sold this
horse to Last Mango for a figure that was probably a little less than the horse
wouldn’t have sold this horse at all except she realized the contribution
a bunch of high-profile owners like these could make in the way of publicity
for Thoroughbred racing,” Amoss said.
It should also be noted
that among other popular contributions Moss has made to the game is the
claiming of former Cornhusker Handicap winners Lord of the Game and Siphon
City, who were each claimed by Moss for $5,000 for the purpose of
allowing them to retire gracefully from their racing careers long after they
had each originally had earned that honor.