Veteran Majestic Harbor Hopes to Stay Hot in New Orleans
March 20, 2016 10:55am
Gallant Stable’s veteran campaigner and Grade I winner Majestic Harbor will attempt to keep the air in his resuscitated career when the 8-year-old son of Rockport Harbor goes for his second consecutive graded stakes victory of the meet in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on Mar. 26 – the first of four Grade II stakes comprising an all-graded stakes pick-4 on Louisiana Derby Day.
At 1 1/8 miles, the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track event caps a Fair Grounds series of stakes for older dirt horses that commenced with the $60,000 Tenacious Stakes in December and continued with the Listed $75,000 Louisiana Stakes in January and Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap in February before Saturday’s ultimate event. A gritty winner last out in gate-to-wire fashion, the long-winded Majestic Harbor should enjoy the extra half-furlong when the bay Paul McGee trainee breaks from post four under Corey Lanerie.
William S. Farish’s homebred Tenacious winner Eagle was a head behind Majestic Harbor in the Mineshaft after a stretch-long battle. Trained by Neil Howard, the five-time winner from 11 starts will race beyond 1 1/16 miles for the first time in his career and get a new rider in Javier Castellano when he breaks from the outside post 10.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star suffered his first Fair Grounds defeat from five attempts at the New Orleans oval in the Mineshaft and will seek redemption with a new rider in Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Trained by Mike Maker, the 2015 Louisiana Derby winner will try to return to the form that saw him win the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes two starts back by 1½ lengths over Eagle.
Four of the top-five finishers from the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston on Feb. 27 have turned up in the New Orleans Handicap, including Grade II Super Derby winner Mobile Bay, who was a determined winner in Texas for trainer Victor Arceneaux and owner Tigertail Ranch. Edgar Prado rides the sizable son of Lone Star Special from post eight.
Mark Breen’s Maxxam Gold Cup runner-up Jessica’s Star overcame multiple complications to return to form off an eight-month layoff at Sam Houston and will try to improve off that effort at Fair Grounds for leading trainer Mike Stidham. Mitchell Murrill rides the 2014 Grade III Iowa Derby winner from post three.
Multiple stakes winner Stormdriver (Diego Saenz, post two), graded sprint stakes winner Coup de Grace (Florent Geroux, post five), classic-placed Ride On Curlin (James Graham, post six), allowance victor S’maverlous (Jose Lezcano, post seven) and consistent stakes performer Freestyler (Brian Hernandez, Jr., post nine) complete the field for the 91st running of the New Orleans Handicap.

Source: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots


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