Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing and GoldMark Farm’s Mylute, each of whom are being prepared for their upcoming engagements in the 100th anniversary edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby this Saturday, both breezed a half-mile Sunday morning in advance of the centerpiece event of the season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Departing, still undefeated after three career starts, breezed the four furlongs outside of a workmate in 47.20, finishing one length ahead of his stablemate, and Fair Grounds clocker Mike Diliberto caught Departing galloping out five-eighths in 1:00.20.
“Departing was well in hand,” said Diliberto.
The more experienced Mylute, fifth in last September’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity and third in November’s Grade III Delta Jackpot before finishing seventh in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star last month, breezed the half in 50 flat.
“Mylute’s move was just an easy maintenance work,” said Diliberto. “They weren’t asking him for anything.”
STIDHAM DISCUSSES SATURDAY’S LOUISIANA DERBY RUNNER GROUND TRANSPORT
Trainer Mike Stidham was in California Sunday to celebrate his daughter’s birthday but took time over the phone to assess Marette Farrell et al.’s Ground Transport’s chances in this Saturday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby as the showcase race of the New Orleans racing season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
“I think the Louisiana Derby is coming up as one of the toughest of all the (Kentucky) Derby preps,” said Stidham, who breezed Ground Transport six furlongs in 1:12.60 Saturday morning with his assistant Hilary Pridham in the irons before leaving for the West Coast.
“I hope (Ground Transport) is going to fit well in there,” Stidham said. “We’ll find out Saturday. His numbers will have to get a little better than they have been but we hope he’s far enough along in his training to keep moving forward. In his last race (jockey) Mark Guidry made him wait a little longer before he made his move. Guidry was schooling him a little bit in that race. Now we just hope he keeps improving.
“Marette Farrell played a big part in our finding this horse,” said Stidham of the Irish-born bloodstock advisor who was also a principle force in the purchase of All In Stable’s Willcox Inn – a contestant in Saturday’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap.
Farrell grew up on her father’s farm in Ireland, where he bred the multiple Group I-winning English sprinter Fayr Jag. Her brother pinhooked Paco Boy as a 2-year-old in training and that horse went on to be the 2008 winner of the Group I Queen Anne Stakes during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting.
While still in school, Marette was a national high jumping champion and later played hockey for Ireland’s National Field Hockey Team. However, her first love remained horses and following a stint with trainer John Hammond’s yard in France she eventually came to the United States.