Feel The Thunder Stable’s Gran Estreno, the $20,000
claim that captured Saturday’s Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap
over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course, came out of his weekend
race in good order and is being targeted for a return to that surface for the Grade
II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap on Louisiana
Derby Day March
The Muniz Memorial, named in honor of Fair Grounds’ beloved
longtime racing secretary who died in 2003, is the premier grass race of the
New Orleans Thoroughbred racing season.
“Our main goal for Gran Estreno is the Muniz,” said trainer
Mike Stidham during training hours Monday morning. “I don’t know if
we’ll go in that next race (Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 19) or
not. That hasn’t been decided yet.
“We do have Workin for Hops (owned by Estrorace)
getting ready for the Fair Grounds Handicap,” Stidham said. “If he runs well in
there, we might bring him back for the Muniz and possibly run both of them in
Workin for Hops, winner of the 75th anniversary edition of
the Arlington Classic last May 22 as the first leg of Chicago’s Mid-America
Triple, also captured the Grade II American Derby July 17 as the
second leg but was denied a sweep of the Triple when he finished third in the Grade
I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 21.
The altered son of City Zip, who also won Fair Grounds’
$60,000 Grindstone Stakes on Louisiana Derby Day last season, breezed five
furlongs at Fair Grounds in 1:01 Jan. 22 after working that same distance in
1:01.60 on Jan. 15.
Naprvanik Ties Eramia For Leading Rider
Following two successive riding triples Saturday and
Sunday, jockey Rosie Napravnik has tied Richard Eramia for the
lead with 42 wins apiece in the Fair Grounds jockey standings entering Monday’s
Sunday’s 42nd racing day of Fair Grounds’ 2010-2011 season
also officially marked the halfway point of the New Orleans
oval’s 84-day meeting this winter.
Napravnik, 22, born in Morristown,
hanging her tack at Fair Grounds for the first time this season after leading
the standings at Delaware
last summer. She began her Sunday hat trick astride Burning Sands Stable’s Lotto
Cat for trainer Mike Stidham, came right back to the winner’s circle
in the fourth aboard Brereton Jones’ Proud and Fast for conditioner Greg
Foley and won the 10th and final race of the day up on Polite and Cozy,
owned by Valene Farms and trained by Sturges Ducoing.
During last Saturday’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day
Presented by Hotel Monteleone, her three-win afternoon began in the fourth
race on Jerry Adkins’ Ginormus for conditioner Joe Duhon,
continued in the fifth race up on Joel Meredith’s Lumberyard Jack for
Stidham and concluded in the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap
astride Feel The Thunder Stable’s Gran Estreno, once again for Stidham.