Risen Star Stakes winner Discreetly Mine, Mineshaft
Handicap hero Stonehouse, Silverbulletday Stakes heroine Jody Slew
and Fair Grounds Handicap victor Blues Street all came out of
their respective victories in Saturday’s graded stakes in good order and were
doing well Sunday morning.
Discreetly Mine and Blues Street,
both trained by Todd Pletcher, as well as their stablemate Devil May
Care – fifth in the Silverbulletday – will leave Fair Grounds Monday
morning on an equine charter returning to their South
Florida home base. Expected to accompany them on that
flight are Tempted to Tapit and Drosselmeyer, the second and
fourth-place finishers in the Risen Star – which serves as the final designed
major preview of the upcoming Louisiana
Derby March 27.
With its new increased purse of $750,000, the Grade
II Louisiana Derby will become the richest Thoroughbred race ever run at the
Also emerging unscathed from their winning efforts in
Saturday’s sprint stakes Saturday were Chamberlain
Bridge, winner of the Colonel Power Stakes for the second straight year
as well as Double Espresso, heroine of Saturday’s Pan Zareta Stakes.
in the Gate Sunday Morning
Fair Grounds starter Frank Comberrel Jr. reported
that Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra visited the starting gate during
training hours for the first time this season on Sunday morning.
“She just stood there and didn’t make a move,” said
Comberrel. “She was as cool and calm as she could be.
“She’s always like that,” said Comberrel. “All of his
(Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen’s) horses are always very
Calhoun Has Superior
Saturday Here, There and Everywhere
Trainer Bret Calhoun was still in Houston
Sunday morning, but his assistant Jill Perry accepted congratulations on
behalf of his local stakes winners Jody Slew, owned by William Martin and Dan
Morgan, as well as Chamberlain
owned by Carl Moore Management.
Jody Slew, if she were to come back and win the Grade II
Fair Grounds Oaks March 26, would become the first horse in Fair Grounds
history to sweep the local sophomore filly series after winning the Tiffany
Lass Jan. 23 prior to Saturday’s Silverbulletday score. The last four winners
of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks,
including Rachel Alexandra, who parlayed her Oaks double into Horse of
the Year honors later in the season.
became the first horse to take down winning honors in back-to-back editions of
the Colonel Power since Louie Roussel III’s Belek accomplished the feat
in 1990 and 1991.
“We (the Calhoun barn) also won two races in Houston last night and
another one in Hot
Springs yesterday,” said Perry.
“As for Dubai Majesty (runner-up by a head in Saturday’s Pan Zareta
after finishing second by a nose in Santa Anita’s Sunshine Millions Filly &
Mare Sprint Jan. 30), she’s lost two tough ones in a row now. However, she came
back fine yesterday, and as long as they come back good and we get them to run
again – everything’s okay.”
Spanky Considering Stonehouse for New Orleans
New Orleans native Spanky
Broussard, who has based his winter operation at Fair Grounds for more than
four decades, reported Sunday morning that his Mineshaft Handicap winner Stonehouse,
owned by Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich, came out of his neck victory
Saturday in good order.
“I’m thinking about running him back in the (Grade II) New
Orleans Handicap (March 27),” said Broussard when asked about Stonehouse’s next
step. “I don’t know if he can get a mile and an eighth, but I think we’ll try.
That’s really my only option. I know I’m going to nominate him.”
Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy of Mineshaft runner-up General
Quarters indicated Sunday morning that his one-horse stable is bound for
the New Orleans Handicap.
“I’ve never had a horse come back as good as he has after
such a hard race as he ran yesterday,” said McCarthy, “and I think the mile and
an eighth is really going to be his best distance.
Trainer Neil Pessin, who saddled Virginia Tarra’s Giant
Oak to finish third, 1 3/4-lengths behind General Quarters in the Mineshaft
Handicap, is also thinking positively about the New Orleans Handicap.
“We got everything we wanted yesterday,” said Pessin Sunday
morning. “That race was just a prep for the next one. The two that beat us
yesterday won’t beat us next time.”
Incidentally, Giant Oak’s full sister Apple Martini
was on Sunday’s work tab timed in 1:03 for five furlongs in advance of Saturday’s
Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap.
Star Guitar Gets Tune-Up
On the Fair Grounds work tab Sunday morning in probable
preparation for the New Orleans Handicap was Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar,
who breezed a half-mile in 51.
In a related footnote, Star Guitar is named in honor of Louisiana
bluesman and wetlands conservation advocate Tab Benoit, who has
been chosen to receive the Governor’s Award – Conservationist of the Year
for 2009 by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. Benoit, an
internationally acclaimed musician, has often used his music to convey the
urgent message of Louisiana’s
El Caballo Gets Sunday Breeze for Upcoming Mervin Muniz
James Spence’s El Caballo, winner of the Grade III Col.
E. R. Bradley Handicap here Jan. 23 and second by a nose in last year’s Grade
II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap, breezed four furlongs in 53.80 Sunday
morning in preparation for this season renewal of the Muniz, to be contested on
Derby Day March 27.
Bridgmohan’s Saturday Triple Trumps Graham’s Jockey
With a riding triple Saturday, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan,
who passed the 2,000 career win milestone earlier this month, also passed James
Graham for the lead in the current jockey standings entering Sunday’s
program. Bridgmohan had 54 winners entering Sunday’s races as opposed to
Graham’s 52 trips to the winner’s circle.
Top Weighted Tizaqueena Probable for Saturday’s Allen
LaCombe Memorial Handicap
Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena, assigned the high weight
of 123 pounds in Saturday’s Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap, will probably head
the field for that $60,000 turf test, according to stakes coordinator Scott
Also considered probable at this time for the LaCombe
Memorial is Lucas Downs’ Love to Tell (118); Good Tyme Racing and
Richard Ringo’s Dancin Perfect (117); Charles Miller’s Final Refrain
(117); Ace Thoroughbred’s Hotlantic (115); and Virginia Tarra’s Apple