Fair Grounds news: Tom's d'Etat skipping New Orleans Handicap

Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds
March 15, 2019 09:24am
Fair Grounds news: Tom's d'Etat skipping New Orleans Handicap
Photo: Hodges Photography

Trainer Al Stall Jr. reported that G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat would not contest the Grade 2, $400,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds as originally planned due to a foot abscess. Instead, the 6-year-old son of Smart Strike will now target the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) On April 13 at Keeneland.


Tom’s d’Etat has not raced since a distant ninth in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on January 26. Prior to that performance, he had won four straight races, including a local stakes victory in the Tenacious Stakes on December 22. 


Bred in Kentucky by SF Racing, Tom’s d’Etat is out of the graded stakes placed Giant’s Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane is a full sister to Grade 1 winner and multiple champion producing stallion Candy Ride.



Trainer Peter Eurton will be making his first visit to the city of New Orleans next weekend, but he’ll be looking to feast on more than just gumbo and crawfish when he does. The Southern California-based conditioner will send a trio of contenders to Fair Grounds for three of the eight stakes races carded for Louisiana Derby Day.


In breaking his Big Easy maiden, Eurton will saddle Core Beliefs in the New Orleans Handicap (G2), Slewgoodtobetrue in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Lady Mamba in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes. 


Owned by Gary Broad, Core Beliefs will enter the New Orleans Handicap off of a six-month layoff and has not started since a distant fifth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) on September 22 behind McKinzie. The 4-year-old son of Quality Road will seek his second graded stakes triumph in the New Orleans ‘Cap. He won last year’s Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown by a nose to Lone Sailor, who also is possible for the New Orleans Handicap.


Last Sunday, Core Beliefs worked seven furlongs in 1:26.00 over the main track at Los Alamitos Race Course.


“He’s coming off of a pretty good layoff,” Eurton said. “We just felt like if we were going to have a strong 4-year-old this year, then he needed a break. He’s doing well and he’s been training well. He had a nice seven-eighths breeze last week at Los Alamitos and we’ll go from there.

"The great thing about him is that he just never stops trying. In the Ohio Derby at the top of the stretch, he looks beat but he keeps grinding and grinding it out. He doesn’t let things get to him, he doesn’t waste any energy and he has speed. He could run a good mile and a quarter. There are a lot of good things about him.”

Eurton’s triumvirate of Fair Grounds stakes hopefuls are scheduled to ship in on Wednesday, March 20.


“It’s going to be fun in more ways than one since I’ve never been to New Orleans,” Eurton said.



All the heavy lifting and preparation for the Fair Grounds Oaks is over for Serengeti Empress following a half-mile work in :49.40 on Wednesday morning over the New Orleans oval.


Trained by Tom Amoss, the daughter of Alternation was a 4¼-length winner of the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) in her most recent effort, which also was her sophomore debut.


Also working for Amoss on Wednesday morning was G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor who went a half-mile in :50.20. The 4-year-old son of Majestic Warrior’s only start this year was a sixth-place finish as the lukewarm favorite of the Mineshaft Handicap (G3). Amoss stated that he is possible for the New Orleans Handicap but whether or not he runs depends on how much speed draws into the race.


“Both Serengeti Empress and Lone Sailor had works that were designed to be easy half-mile works,” Amoss said. “They are both fit and ready to go next week. Everything went well and they look good this morning. That will probably be their last piece of big work before they run on Louisiana Derby Day. With Lone Sailor we are still trying to examine how much speed is going to be in his race before entering him.”


Lone Sailor won the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park last September.


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