Fair Grounds Race Course Horses to Watch

Fair Grounds Race Course Horses to Watch
Photo: CDI

Older Horse

Apart (Al Stall Jr.) – Five-year-old hit the board in three Fair Ground stakes during the 2010-2011 season, including a runner-up finish in the New Orleans Handicap (GII). The multiple graded stakes winner won the Super Derby (GII) at three. This year he finished second in the Evangeline Mile. Apart has been working steadily at Fair Grounds since mid-October.

Bind (Stall) – Four-year-old broke his maiden at Fair Grounds in February 2011 with a sensational 9 1/2-length win but has been off since finishing second in a first-level allowance on the 2011 Kentucky Derby undercard. He has been working steadily at Fair Grounds since mid-October for what will eventually be his first race in at least 18 months.

Bourbon Courage (Kellyn Gorder) – Three-year-old colt started his career with two resounding Fair Grounds wins at six furlongs last season. He’s since found success around two turns, including a five-length triumph in the $500,000 Super Derby (GII) at Louisiana Downs in September. He was second in the $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park in October and has been working steadily at Churchill in anticipation of the Nov. 23 Clark Handicap (GI).

Cease (Stall) – Three-year-old finished second to Pool Play last time out in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (GII). In March he won the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston. Cease is currently at Churchill Downs preparing for the Nov. 23 Clark Handicap (GI).

Dubious Miss (Paul McGee) – Eight-year-old gelding won an allowance race at the end of the last Fair Grounds meet but has been working toward a comeback for more than a month. He has hit the board in the last three runnings of the Fair Grounds Handicap (GIII) and the last two renewals of the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (GIII), both on turf, but still seeks his first Fair Grounds stakes win.

Fast Alex (Greg Geier) – Last season, this 5-year-old won the Tenacious Handicap before finishing second in both the Louisiana and Mineshaft handicaps. He’s been working in Chicago and is expected in New Orleans once the Hawthorne Race Course horses are cleared to travel.

Golden Yank (Gary Thomas) – Seven-year-old gelding is a veteran of 25 starts in stakes throughout the Midwest and Southwest but visits New Orleans for the first time dince the 2009 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap with the string of new Fair Grounds trainer Gary Thomas.

Hero of Order (Gennadi Dorochenko) – Three-year-old colt pulled off a 109-1 shocker in March’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII). Finished second to Hansen in June’s $250,000 Iowa Derby (GIII) but has been away from the races since fading to fifth in September’s Super Derby. Hero of Order posted a three-furlong work at Fair Grounds on Nov. 5 and is nominated to the Nov. 23 Woodchopper on turf.

Macho Macho (Steve Asmussen) – Gray 3-year-old broke his maiden at Fair Grounds in February and went on to win the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (GII). He then finished a solid second in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (GII) in his most recent start.

Mark Valeski (Larry Jones) – Three-year-old runner-up in this year’s Risen Star Stakes (GII) and Louisiana Derby (GII) was last seen winning the Peter Pan (GII) at Belmont in May.

Nehro (Asmussen) – As a 3-year-old in 2011, Nehro finished second in the Arkansas, Louisiana and Kentucky derbies, all in the span of five weeks. He easily won his 4-year-old debut at Fair Grounds in February and just missed by a nose in the $300,000 Pimlico Special (GIII) in May. He was last seen in June’s Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs, finishing sixth.

Prayer for Relief (Asmussen) – Like Nehro, Prayer for Relief is a 4-year-old owned by Zayat Stables. At three, he reeled off three straight rich stakes wins in the Iowa (GIII), West Virginia (GII) and Super (GII) derbies. This year he hit the board in a pair of Grade II stakes for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita, the San Fernando and the Strub, and a pair of Grade II stakes for older horses at Betfair Hollywood Park, the Mervyn LeRoy and the Californian Stakes.

Suntracer (Neil Pessin) – Now four, last season’s Woodchopper Stakes winner will enter the Fair Grounds meet off of two six-figure stakes wins in Chicago. He is currently training at Hawthorne awaiting clearance to leave for New Orleans.

Follow the link below for horses to watch in each meet-championship division (except Claimer) during the upcoming 141st Thoroughbred Racing Season, opening Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22. This list is comprised of horses expected at Fair Grounds based on stall applications, which are submitted in the fall by each trainer, as well as other sources, including published news reports, daily workout tabs and interviews with horsemen. Horses (with trainer) are listed alphabetically within each division.


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