Three years ago trainer Todd Pletcher was able to
complete a rare parlay: sending Michael and Doreen Tabor’s Circular Quay
on a quick trip back to Fair Grounds to win the Grade II New Orleans
Handicap as a 4-year-old one year after that agile chestnut took down
winning honors in the Grade II Louisiana Derby as a sophomore.
On Saturday, reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer
Pletcher will try to accomplish that same unusual Crescent
double again by winning this year’s $400,000 New Orleans Handicap with Twin
Creeks Racing Stables’ Mission Impazible, the roan son of Unbridled’s
Song who won last year’s Louisiana Derby.
How does Mission Impazible compare to Circular Quay?
“Actually, they are quite a bit different,” said Pletcher
assistant Michael McCarthy, who travelled here from Palm Meadows with
Mission Impazible earlier this week. McCarthy was also Pletcher’s
California-based assistant when Circular Quay ran out on the West Coast. “Circular
Quay had a more laid-back personality than Mission Impazible does.
“Also, their running styles are fairly different,” McCarthy
noted. “Circular Quay was the kind of horse who liked to make one late run. The
only time he didn’t do that was when he won the New Orleans Handicap, and that
race was different because it was the first time we ever put the blinkers on
“Mission Impazible usually runs his best races when he
prompts the pace,” said McCarthy. “Generally, he likes to stay pretty close to
the lead in the early part of it.
“It was to Circular Quay’s credit that he was able to win
one year and come back the next year to win the New Orleans Handicap,” said
McCarthy, “and it would be great to get it done again with Mission
SNOW FALL SCRATCHED FROM SATURDAY’S $500,000 FAIR
Jack Smith and Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr’s Snow Fall,
who spiked a temperature Sunday afternoon after being entered in the $500,000
Fair Grounds Oaks earlier that morning, will be scratched from Saturday’s
Grade II season highlight for 3-year-old fillies, reducing that field to nine
ENCOURAGING UPDATE ON SEVERELY INJURED JOCKEY EIBAR COA
Dean Reeves, one of the principle owners of Saturday’s $1 million
Louisiana Derby favorite Mucho Macho Man, offered an encouraging
update on jockey Eibar Coa, the favorite’s regular rider until he
suffered paralyzing injuries in a spill at Gulfstream the day before Fair
Grounds’ $350,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 19.
“Eibar is improving every day,” said Reeves, who has
visited Coa in the hospital. “The last time I saw him, he could actually stand
up with the assistance of someone grabbing him by the back of his pants and