Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Maggi Moss’s Delaunay, named Horse of the Meeting
last season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slotsafter sweeping all
three sprint stakes for older horses at the Crescent City oval, heads a
field of six in Saturday’s $60,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial, middle leg of
this season’s series of six-furlong affairs.
Facing Delaunay once again is Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry, who swept the three sprint stakes the previous season but finished second to that rival in all three legs last season.
The two arch rivals were scheduled to meet again in this season’s
$100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, first leg of the series contested on
Nov. 28 but Delaunay was scratched after coming down with a temperature
after entries had already been drawn.
In Delaunay’s absence Gantry won the Thanksgiving Handicap for the
second time in the last three renewals, defeating Klaravich Stable et
al.’s Central Banker. That well-regarded sprinter went on to finish second in Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu in his next outing.
Delaunay, conditioned by 10-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss, will be ridden by Fair Grounds’ three-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik.
Gantry, trained by Ron Faucheux, will have Louisiana Downs’ three-time defending rider champion Richard Eramia in the irons.
Capable of providing strong competition for Delaunay and Gantry is St. George Farm and David Ingordo’s Channel Marker, runner-up
in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Bonapaw over the Stall-Wilson turf course at
last asking on Dec. 21. In his previous outing at Churchill Downs he
was beaten less than a length when third in an allowance and $80,000
optional claiming sprint on the main track. Three-time Fair Grounds
trainer champion Al Stall Jr. is the conditioner and seven-time Fair Grounds jockey champion Robby Albarado will be aboard.
Completing the field is Martin Racing Stable’s Marchman, Jamie Theriot; Gustav Schickendanz and Donald Howard’s Say No More, James Graham; and J-Lu LLC’s Hip Four Sixtynine, Kerwin Clark.