All In Stable’s Willcox Inn, away from competition
since finishing third in the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on
Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs, has been installed as the solid 2-1 choice in
Saturday’s rescheduled $60,000 Grindstone Stakes for 3-year-olds
at about 7 1 /2 furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
The third renewal of the Grindstone, named in honor of the
1996 Louisiana Derby winner who parlayed that score to a victory in the Kentucky
Derby later that spring, was originally scheduled for March 5 in a program
that was subsequently cancelled due to severe storms that inundated Southern Louisiana after the first two races that day.
Prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Willcox Inn ran
third in the Grade I Breeders Futurity over the Polytrack at Keeneland
Oct. 9. The son of Harlan’s Holiday broke his maiden at first asking last Sept.
18 at Arlington Park
in a race scheduled for the grass but taken off and run over the Polytrack at
Willcox Inn, trained by Mike Stidham, got in an
additional breeze Monday going three-quarters in 1:14.60 following the
cancellation of the Grindstone last week. Fair Grounds’ leading rider Rosie
Napravnik is astride.
Capable of providing strong competition for Willcox Inn in
the Grindstone is Caroline Dodwell’s Aces N Kings, who will be
saddled by Bobby Barnett and ridden by Eddie Martin Jr. In his
last start Jan. 22, the Texas-bred gelding won the restricted $50,000 Groovy
Stakes at Sam Houston Park, and before that ran third in the $250,000
Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington. Pegged as the 4-1 second choice in the
morning line, Aces N Kings also captured the $50,000 Minstrel and $50,000
Sunny’s Halo stakes over the grass course at Louisiana Downs last summer. Aces
N Kings breezed a half-mile in 49.80 at Fair Grounds on Fat Tuesday.
Completing the Grindstone field is Millennium Farms’ Great
Mills, Shane Sellers; Carolyn Friedberg and Jeff Larson’s Tragic Magic,
Marlon St. Julien; Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Action Ready, Miguel
Mena; Steve Mongerson’s Moonbie, James Graham; Team Block’s Mavericking,
Shaun Bridgmohan; and William Farish and Skara Glen Stable’s Close Ally,
Dundalk Dust Returns in New Orleans Ladies
Dundalk Dust, the Dundalk 5 color bearer who won
Churchill Downs’ Grade II Falls City Handicap by three lengths in her
last start Nov. 25, has been installed as the 2-1 morning line choice in
Saturday’s second running of the $100,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds Race
In the inaugural edition of the New Orleans Ladies last
season, Arnold Zetcher’s Zardana upset 2009 Horse of the Year
Rachel Alexandra in a contest that subsequently earned a Horse of the
Meet title for Zardana at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 Crescent City
oval’s Thoroughbred racing season. The race restricted to older fillies and
mares is run at 1 1/16-miles.
In the Falls City, Dundalk Dust was unhurried early,
launched a three-wide run when set down for the drive and drew off for a
three-length victory in that last start on Thanksgiving Day. Previously the
daughter of Military had captured the restricted $87,000 Princess Handicap at
Hawthorne Race Course Oct. 30.
Neil Pessin is the new trainer of Dundalk Dust and
the filly will be ridden by Fair Grounds leading jockey Rosie Napravnik.
Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song, pegged as the 3-1
second choice in the New Orleans Ladies morning line, appears the one to beat.
The 5-year-old mare proved clearly best in the $59,000 Pelleteri Stakes here
Feb. 12 and the Carl Bowman trainee will be ridden by Corey Lanerie
once again. Ravi’s Song is out of the dam Lu
Ravi, who won the Fair Grounds Oaks in 1998 and also captured two
editions of the Chou Croute Stakes here.
Completing the New Orleans Ladies field is Jim Tafel’s Fighter
Wing, Shane Sellers; Dede McGehee’s Mayhaw, Kerwin Clark; Melnyk
Racing Stables’ Patience Drive,
Miguel Mena; John Gunther’s Stage Magic, James Graham; and Ike and
Dawn Thrash’s Third Dawn, Richard Eramia.