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Finnegans Wake Works for Louisiana Derby

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI

Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake, third behind Hansen in the Grade III Gotham at Aqueduct earlier this month, worked five furlongs in :59 3/5, breezing, at Fair Grounds on Saturday. It was the Powerscourt colt’s first official move over the surface since arriving here from South Florida’s Palm Meadows Training Center mid-week.


“I thought the work was perfect,” said Tammy Fox, the New Orleans native and wife of trainer Dale Romans who was aboard for the breeze. “He did everything that Dale wanted me to do with him. He handled the track really good. He was looking around a little bit but that’s what he does. He finished really well and did it all on his own.”


Finnegans Wake worked through even 12-second splits of :12, :24, :36 and :48 before finishing the final eighth in :11 4/5.


Fox said Finnegans Wake will gallop just before the renovation break for the rest of this week.






Mike Munna Racing Stable’s Comisky’s Humor, winner of consecutive sprints over the Fair Grounds main track by a combined 18 lengths, worked one mile in 1:50, breezing, with regular rider Richard Eramia up, in advance of his first attempt around two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby.


“We pretty much two-minute-licked him and let him finish,” trainer Ron Faucheux said. “I thought it was perfect; exactly what we wanted. Richard said he felt good and thought he really relaxed. As long as he comes out of it OK and looks good tomorrow morning we’ll go ahead and enter.”


Asked which post position he’d prefer, Faucheux answered “one” without hesitation and added that there’s no reason to pretend their strategy might be anything other than to go to the lead and see how long they can hold on.


“He’s got to go,” Faucheaux said. “No secret there. He’ll be in front at some point, we know that much.”




Gary & Mary West’s Fire Alarm, an entry-level allowance winner earlier in March, worked four furlongs in :50 1/5, breezing, for trainer Bret Calhoun…West Point Thoroughbreds’ Flashy Sunrise, a maiden who has finished second in  consecutive Fair Grounds maiden special weights, worked a half-mile in :48 3/5, breezing, for trainer Dallas Stewart.




Jake Ballis’s Cigar Street, a dominant 13 ¾-length maiden winner earlier this month, will breeze Sunday immediately following the renovation break, according to Sue Margolis, wife of trainer Steve Margolis, who is at Turfway Park today. Steve Margolis said earlier this week that a decision on Cigar Street’s status for the Louisiana Derby would not be made until after this weekend’s work.




The Louisiana Derby post position draw will be held Monday at 11:30 a.m. in the Fair Grounds paddock. Trainers of prominent entrants will be available for one-one-one interviews following the draw. All credentialed media are invited for the 15-minute post draw and press conference.




National Handicapping Championship winner Michael Beychok will be the special guest handicapper at the weekly “No Favorites Allowed” seminar on Fair Grounds Oaks Day, March 31. The following morning, Churchill Downs Racing Analyst Jill Byrne will join Louisiana Downs track announcer Travis Stone for a special Louisiana Derby Day seminar. The seminars, held in The Phoenix room on the Grandstand’s third floor, are free and open to handicappers of all skill levels, including beginners. Along with moderator Jim Mulvihill, panelists focus on picking live horses beyond the morning line favorites. 




Fair Grounds has set post times for Friday’s historic 18-race program, which kicks off at 12:40 p.m. There will be a one-hour break between Race 9 and Race 10, from 4:50-5:50 p.m. CDT. Also, there will be two additional Pick Fours, beginning on Race 6 and Race 11, in addition to the usual Pick Four wagers starting on Race 2 and Race 15. Starlight Racing prices will go into effect at 3:30 p.m. and the Miller Lite Beer Garden will open at 5 p.m. The complete post times can be found with Friday’s entries.




Saturday’s $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (Gr. II) will be Race 10 at 4:58 p.m. CDT. First post is 12:10 p.m. The Fair Grounds Oaks Day card will be drawn Sunday morning in the Racing Office.




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