The 24th running of the $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes for 3-year-olds at about one mile over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course as well as the 47th renewals of the restricted
($112,224 colt and gelding division and $107,125 filly division) bring
down the curtain on the 2010 calendar year during Friday’s
New Year’s Eve program at Fair Grounds.
The next day, on the first day of Thoroughbred racing in 2011, it’s in with the new at the
City oval when the third running of the $60,000 Blushing K. D. Handicap, for older fillies and mares at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course, highlights
Saturday’s New Year’s Day program.
In Friday’s Woodchopper Stakes, Sam-Son Farms’
Red Strike, undefeated in
his only two career starts, both over Canadian grass at Woodbine Race
Course, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite when he
faces 10 rivals over the
New Orleans lawn. The son of Smart Strike is trained by
Mark Frostad and will be ridden by Irish-born jockey
James Graham for the first time Friday.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s
Lonesome Street, trained by Mike Maker, to be ridden by
Miguel Mena and stakes
placed last summer at Saratoga, is the 4-1 second choice in the
Woodchopper morning line, while Kindred Thoroughbreds’
Saratoga Yankee, conditioned by Donnie K. Von Hemel with
Jesse Campbell in the irons, is pegged as the third choice at 5-1.
Completing the Woodchopper field, with jockeys assigned, is
Max Me Out, Jamie Theriot; Upgrade,
Robby Albarado; Mountain Justice, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Backtrack, Eddie
Martin Jr.; Ice Climber, Richard Eramia; Royal Express, Kirk LeBlanc;
April’s Picture, Jose Camejo;
and Flight, Rosie Napravnik.
In Friday’s colts and geldings division of the Louisiana Futurity, Coteau Grove Farms’
Toro Bravo, second best
in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile but winner of a
state-bred stakes at Evangeline last July, is the 5-2 morning line
choice, while David Richardson and Walter New’s
Fort Hood, third in the local Juvenile, is the 3-1 second choice.
In Friday’s filly division of the Louisiana Futurity, JRita Young Thoroughbreds’
Take Me Home Too, a
disappointing eight in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie but a
winner of Louisiana Downs’ $50,000 Laurel Line before that, has been
pegged at 9-5 in the morning line, with Richard Ringo’s
Sweet Ruston, runner-up in the local Lassie, close behind at her projected 2-1 odds.
Never Retreat, advanced
as the 2-1 projected favorite in the Blushing K. D. Handicap on New
Year’s Day’s Saturday program in New Orleans, finished second beaten a
half-length in last year’ first renewal of the grass
test for older members of the distaff set.
last season, the Smart Strike mare was first under the wire in Fair
Grounds’ $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap but was subsequently disqualified
and placed second. In her most recent start Never Retreat finished
second by a nose in Woodbine’s $100,000 River Memorial Stakes on Oct. 30
but won Kentucky Downs’ $50,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf before that
James Perron Racing Stable’s
Category Seven, fourth
beaten a half-length for all of it in the $150,000 Remington Green
Stakes in her last start Oct. 10 but a winner of five straight last
year, is the 3-1 second choice in the Blushing K. D. morning
Shaun Bridgmohan up, and Category Seven, with
Richard Eramia named aboard, share the top impost of
122 pounds in the Blushing K. D. Handicap.
The Blushing K. D. field, with riders and respective weight assignments, is completed by
Instant Style, Miguel Mena (116);
May One, Jansen Melancon (114); Avie’s Tale, Rosie Napravnik (115); Cave
Creeker, Denny Velasquez (109); Single Solution, James Graham (117);
High Quail, Jamie Theriot (116); Mizzcan’tbewrong,
Jesse Campbell (116); and Vera Belle, Kerwin Clark (108).