Oakcrest et al.’s Upperline pressed the early pace, gained the advantage in the lane and drew clear late for a one-length win in Saturday’s fourth running of the $60,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap for older fillies and mares over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course.
Trained by Mike Stidham, who is also one of the owners, Upperline was winning her first race over grass but the fourth race of her career in 10 lifetime starts. The daughter of Maria’s Mon increased her career earnings to $210,987 with her Saturday score.
“We intended that her last race would be on grass but it came off it,” said Stidham in the winner’s circle. “But it still got her ready for her race today.”
Upperline paid $7.40, $3.80 and $2.80 and toured the about 1 1/16-mile distance over the course rated “good” in 1.46.68.
“She’s a very kind filly and puts you where you need to be,” said winning rider Rosie Napravnik, who is also the meet’s leading rider.
James Perron Racing Stable’s Category Seven, who was assigned the top impost of 122 pounds in the LaCombe ’Cap, rallied to be second best, returning $4.20 and $2.60 while finishing a half-length to the good of Sam-Son Farm’s favored Forest Uproar, who lacked the needed late response and paid $2.20 to show.
Naveed Chowhan’s Ice Mist made the pace with early fractions of 24.96 and 50.51 before weakening to fourth.
MAN OF STRIFE CLOSES LATE TO WIN SATURDAY’S GENTILLY STAKES
Heartlines Horse Ranch’s Man of Strife, void of early foot, rallied outside the field in the middle of the track in the late stages of Saturday’s $60,000 Gentilly Stakes restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and proved best by a neck in the last strides of the about 1 1/16-mile grass test to give winning rider Rosie Napravnik her second stakes win of the day.
“I was kind of forced to wait a little bit,” said Napravnik of the Brian House trainee, “but he closed well late. He’s a very game little horse.”
Man of Strife paid $10, $5.40 and $3.20, toured the distance over the “good” grass in 1:47.77 and increased his career earnings to $84,830 with his third win in five lifetime starts while racing over the lawn for the first time in his career.
Klaravich Stables’ Populist Politics, also without speed, rallied late to gain the place, paying $6.60 and $5.60 while finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Peter Redekop’s favored Loranger Native, who had no late rally and paid $2.40 to show.
Nick, Richey, Brooks and Wisdom’s Ollie Baby made the pace with early fractions of 24.11 and 49.04 but gave way late.
LOVENOTLOST RULES SARAH LANE’S OATES
Tri-Star Racing’s Lovenotlost overcame a troubled beginning to rally outside the leaders in the final furlong and got up to be best by a nose in Saturday’s $60,000 Sarah Lane’s Oates Stakes. The winner, trained by Wes Hawley and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, accomplished the about one mile distance over the Stall-Wilson turf course rated “good” in 1:43.08, increased her career earnings to $83,450 with her third win in seven lifetime starts and paid $10.40, $4.20 and $3.40.
“We got in a lot of trouble on the first turn,” said Bridgmohan, “but she’s such a nice filly she gathered herself back up and got back in the race.”
Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Tensas Punch just missed when finishing second in the race restricted to accredited Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies, paying $3.40 and $2.80, while JRita Young Thoroughbreds’ front running Take Me Home Too paid $4.80 to show while finishing three-quarters of a length farther back after recording early splits of 26.22 and 52.18.