Louie Roussel III’s Mambo Galliano,
last season’s Champion Sprinter at Fair Grounds Race Course &
Slots, will be asking for seconds Thursday as the 5-year-old gelding
a repeat in the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, the traditional Opening
Day feature at the nation’s third-oldest racetrack.
Handicap, for older horses at six furlongs, tops a 10-race program that
also includes the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes for Louisiana-breds going one
mile on turf. First post is earlier than normal, at 11:05 a.m. CST, and
the day’s final race will go off at about
3:45 p.m. CST. Grandstand general admission is free and Clubhouse
general admission is $7. The Clubhouse dining room has been sold out for
weeks, but a traditional Thanksgiving meal can still be had (without
any reservations necessary) in the second-floor
Grandstand Buffet for $25.99.
will also mark the debut of the Black Gold 5,
a new daily jackpot carryover wager requiring a bettor to hold the lone
successful ticket with the winners of five consecutive races. On
programs when there is no single-ticket
winner, half of the pool will be paid as consolation to tickets with
the most correct and half of the pool will go to the carryover. The
Black Gold 5 carries a $.50 minimum and starts on Race 5 every day. Fair
Grounds is guaranteeing a $5,000 pool on Opening
Day, as well as any day after the bet is hit.
Gold 5 ends with the Thanksgiving Handicap, carded as Race 9 at 3:12
p.m. CST. Highweight and likely favorite Mambo Galliano returns to
racing for the first time since a win in Fair Grounds’ premiere
main-track sprint, the Duncan F. Kenner, in March.
Mambo Galliano’s chief competitors is the 2010 Kenner winner and 2009-2010 Fair Grounds Champion Sprinter,
Cash Refund, also coming back from an extended layoff.
of 3-year-olds stand out as intriguing alternatives to the more accomplished favorites.
Trubs won the $100,000 Prelude Stakes at Louisiana Downs in August and cuts back in distance for his first try against older horses.
Joe Hollywood, from the 6,000-win barn of
Steve Asmussen, comes off a pair of dominant allowance wins at
the full field for the Thanksgiving Handicap, from the rail out (with weights, jockeys and trainers):
Southern Style (115, Robby Albarado, Maynard Chatters), Trubs (116, Shane Sellers, Al Stall Jr.),
Gantry (116, Richard Eramia, Ron Faucheaux),
Tidal Volume (117, Gerard Melancon, Tom Amoss),
Mambo Galliano (122, Terry Thornton, Louie Roussel III),
Cash Refund (119, James Graham, Steve Margolis),
Goldzar (114, Miguel Mena, Randy Granger) and
Joe Hollywood (116, Rosie Napravnik, Steve Asmussen).