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Willcox Inn Tops Rescheduled Grindstone

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI

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 that Chicago oval.


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, Corey Lanerie.


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 Course.


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.



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