If the wide way around Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course listed as “good” worked once, why not try it again?
That’s what red-hot jockey John Jacinto thought as he guided Steve Garber’s Tensas Cat to a mostly front-running score by two lengths in the 25th renewal of the $60,000 Gentilly Stakes as Saturday’s finale at the New Orleans oval.
Earlier in the afternoon under Jacinto, Charles Zacney and Edward Johnston’s Ladyzarbridge broke in full stride from the outside post, made the pace throughout while remaining wide but continued willingly to win Saturday’s $60,000 Sarah Lane’s Oates Stakes by 7 3/4-lengths at about one mile over the same Stall-Wilson turf course.
That wide winning run was all part of the racing strategy trainer Johnston conveyed to jockey Jacinto in pre-race instructions for the Sarah Lane’s Oates, restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies. “The trainer told me she’s in a great spot out there because that was the best part of the track,” said Jacinto in post-race comments after the filly race. “He wanted me to stay out there because it was firmer out there,” added the rider who was coming off a four-win day on Friday’s Fair Grounds program.
Trainer Johnston, enjoying an extremely high win percentage meeting here, co-owns Ladyzarbridge with Zacney, who is one of the principals in the Cash is King Stable which owned Afleet Alex.
Ladyzarbridge paid $12.60, $6.60 and $3.40, toured the distance in 1:40.83 after setting early splits of 25.13 and 50.34, and increased her career earnings to $80,370 with her third win in five lifetime starts.
Northpointe Thoroughbreds’ The Rumor’s True finished second, a half-length in front of Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Lunar Fest, paying $4.20 and $2.60 as the choice of the fans while Lunar Fest paid $2.40 for the show.
Seven races later (and three wins later for Jacinto, who was completing a five-win afternoon after riding four winners Friday) the jockey said after the Gentilly, “I knew where the best part of the track was, so I stayed out there again.”
Gentilly winner Tensas Cat, owned and trained by Garvey (retiring sheriff of Mississippi’s Hancock County still in his first year as a licensed trainer), paid $10.40, $5.60 and $3.40, toured the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46.21, and increased his career earnings to $74,550 with his second win in five career starts.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Heavenville, always well placed, finished second by a head in the race for accredited sophomore Louisiana-breds paying $4.40 and $3.20, while the third place runner was Kevin Mullikin’s Pioneering Native, who paid $7.80 to show.
Vinery Stables’ Dynamic Time set the early fractions of 23.91 and 49.57 before tiring to 11th at the finish.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.