Barn Tour: 2020's leading trainer at Fair Grounds is back for more

Barn Tour: 2020's leading trainer at Fair Grounds is back for more
Photo: Steve Queen/Eclipse Sportswire

When racing returns at Fair Grounds on Thursday for its Thanksgiving start date, last year’s leading trainer, Ron Faucheux, will have plenty of horses in the gate, with 10 entries on opening weekend. After a year in which Louisiana racing endured a hurricane that damaged Fair Grounds, Faucheux said he is thrilled to be back at the track.

“When you train in Louisiana for the most part all year, you can’t wait for Fair Grounds to open up,” Faucheux said.

Click here for Fair Grounds entries.

Faucheux earned his first Fair Grounds title last year with 40 wins. He narrowly beat Brad Cox, who had been leading trainer for the previous four meets and finished with 37 victories.

Faucheux said he would be happy to win another title, but he enters the meet with other priorities.

“You just kind of handle every horse individually and place them where they fit,” Faucheux said. “The last couple of weeks, if we’re in the hunt, we’ll look at it closer.”

The trainer caught up with Horse Racing Nation to give updates on some of the top talent in his barn ahead of the meet.

Bertie’s Galaxy. The Louisiana-bred Greeley’s Galaxy gelding won an allowance race at Delta Downs last out. He will run next in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on Dec. 11.

“He’s doing great,” Faucheux said. “He’s just continued to progress and mature.”

Faucheux said he has high hopes for Bertie’s Galaxy.

“Monte Man has been probably our best horse for several years now,” Faucheux said. “We’re kind of hoping he can pass a torch to (Bertie’s Galaxy) when the time is right.”

Monte Man. The aforementioned Monte Man will take on Bertie’s Galaxy in the Champions Day Sprint. An 8-year-old Custom for Carlos gelding, he ran third in the Louisiana Cup Sprint Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 21. He won the Champions Day Sprint last year.

Faucheux was quick to praise Monte Man’s versatility.

“He likes every track, in all honesty,” Faucheux said. “He’s won at all four tracks in the state, he’s won on all surfaces.”

Strong Beauty. One of Faucheux’s top fillies, Strong Beauty has won her two most recent starts, an allowance race at Louisiana Downs in July and the Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Stakes in August. She will run in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint on Dec. 11.

“Once we gave her a little time between races, we finally felt like she finally made that next step and became that better horse that we were looking for her to become,” Faucheux said. “The last race she ran, were were ecstatic to see her capable of winning a stakes.”

Mangelsen. Mangelsen, who finished third in the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic Stakes on Aug. 21, will run in a starter optional claiming race going 1 1/16 miles on the turf on Friday. Faucheux said he plans for the 5-year-old Big Band Sound gelding to run in bigger places going forward.

“As good as he’s doing, we expect better than just being able to knock out starter allowance races,” Faucheux said. “We’re high on him.”

Helaire. Entered to run in a $45,000 maiden special weight race on Friday, Helaire was noted by Faucheux as one of his top 2-year-olds.

“He’s been training great since we got him,” Faucheux said. “He ran at Churchill, he ran fourth. We expect big things from him. I’m more excited about my 2-year-old stock this year than I’ve been.”

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