Fans in attendance at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on
Thursday as well as those watching the local simulcast signal around the
nation got an early Christmas present if they paid attention to the
fourth race of the afternoon.
That was when a 2-year-old JMJ Racing Stables ridgling named Unknown Road cut
out early fractions of 22.20 and 46.49 before increasing his lead
throughout the stretch and come home 11 ¾ lengths in front with a final
time of 1:10.91.
“That was exciting,” admitted his understated trainer Al Stall Jr. Friday morning of the youngster who is a half-brother to 1998 Eclipse Award–winning 3-year-old filly Banshee Breeze. “We were very pleased with his race, yesterday.”
What made the performance especially exciting was that the black and
yellow silks of JMJ Racing are strikingly similar to those of 1977
Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, and that image sets one’s imagination racing to an earlier golden era.
What’s next? Does Unknown Road now have a more clear-cut path to pursue?
“We’ll probably now start looking at the (Grade III) Lecomte,” said Stall. “His breeding certainly suggests he’ll be better at two turns. Also, he’s an early bird nomination to the (Grade II) Louisiana Derby, so we’ll just have to see how everything goes from here.”
The Lecomte, at a mile and 70 yards, serves as Fair Grounds’ showcase event on Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Jan. 18. The $1 million Louisiana Derby, at nine furlongs, will be run on March 29, 2014.
JMJ Racing is the nom-de-course of Dennis Narlinger, a New
Jersey-born 61-year-old San Juan Capistrano, California, resident now
semi-retired from the computer and electronics industry. His son
Michael serves as his racing manager as they pursue their racing and
Stall also indicated that Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Central Banker, second by a neck in the $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, has been sent west for the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 26.