Speaking over the phone from South Florida Thursday morning, trainer Chad Brown
confirmed that Fox Hill Farms’ Normandy Invasion
would be coming to New Orleans for the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford Feb. 23.
“We’re planning on it,” said Brown of Normandy Invasion when asked if Normandy Invasion would be invading the Crescent City oval next week for Fair Grounds’ designed prep for the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.
The bay sophomore son of Tapit has not run since finishing a fast-closing second in New York’s Grade II Remsen Stakes at nine furlongs last Nov. 24, but his defeat by a nose in that Aqueduct race has Brown thinking positively about the long stretch run at Fair Grounds.
“He ran good in the Remsen,” Brown said, “and he’s been training real good down here in Florida. But he hasn’t had a lot of experience and I know the (speed-favoring) track at Gulfstream wouldn’t be conducive to his style. We’re searching for a better situation.”
Normandy Invasion breezed a bullet five furlongs at South Florida’s Palm Meadows training center in 1:00.40 last Sunday.
“We’re cranking him now,” said Brown. “I’m probably also going to send (Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s) Hyper
up there with him (for the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap) and at some point I’m planning on being there, as well.”
The $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course on Louisiana Derby Preview Day is Fair Grounds’ prep for the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap as the main grass test of the New Orleans racing season also to be run on Louisiana Derby Day. Brown won the Muniz last year with Gary & Mary West’s Casino Host.