By Michael Adolphson —-
• Uchenna Brings Class to Blushing K. D.
• Cox Crew Dominates Work Tab
TRAINER RICHIE SCHERER ALL THE RAGE
Multiple graded stakes-winning trainer Richie Scherer has been on fire to start the 2016-17 Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet. The veteran conditioner has won with five of his first 13 starters, including sharp maiden special weight winners Red Corvette and Fort Rally in successive days (Thursday and Friday).
“Like always in racing, it’s a lot of luck,” Scherer said. “We were pointing to certain races and you have to get those to go and they did. Then we had good trips and good rides, so that helps.
“Fort Rally really was doing well and it was good to get her a win,” he added. “She’s a big, athletic filly and I think she’ll be alright.”
A gifted trainer with turf horses, especially, his barn favorite Inconclusive is aiming for her third stakes win of 2016 in the $75,000 Pago Hop on New Year’s Eve over the Stall-Wilson turf course. Two of Scherer’s five career graded stakes victories came over the course — the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial in 2004 with Mystery Giver and the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley in 2012 with Mr. Vegas.
Fort Rally’s victory was Scherer’s 800th career win and pushed him over the $17 million mark in career earnings. Thus far in his career, he is striking at a smart 14.6%.
UCHENNA BRINGS CLASS TO BLUSHING K. D.
Gary Barber’s Uchenna continues to train forwardly for her local debut next week in the $75,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. A graded stakes winner, she was last seen finishing off the board in the Grade III Maple Leaf Stakes over the synthetic Tapeta surface of Woodbine’s main track on Nov 5. In her last run over the turf, she was a solid third in the Grade III Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park. The 5-year-old daughter of phenomenal global grass sire Fastnet Rock (AUS) is trained by Mark Casse, whose local string is run by David Carroll.
“She’s in next weekend and looks great,” Carroll said. “Her recent races have been on the synthetic and she has obviously run some very nice races on the turf. I think on paper she fits and is doing well, so we expect her to run well. Her race at Monmouth was very good. If she runs back to that, that’s what we’re hoping for.”
COX CREW DOMINATES WORK TAB
A phalanx of Brad Cox trainees headed to stakes company dominated the work tab on Saturday morning, topped by local hero Chocolate Ride. The GenStar Thoroughbreds-owned son of Candy Ride worked a half-mile in 49.20 in preparation for next week’s $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial. One of three entered in the Diliberto for Cox, the dark bay was joined on the tab by Almasty, co-owned by GenStar and Rupp Racing, who worked the same distance a little quicker in 48.60. The son of Scat Daddy is cross-entered into the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes, a turf sprint, as well.
The final of the Diliberto-bound Cox trio to work was Marc Detampel’s Western Reserve, who was quickest of the triad, nearly snagging the bullet in 48.20. Western Reserve is cross-entered into the $75,000 Tenacious Stakes on dirt, as well.
William J. Punk, Jr. and Philip DiLeo’s Selenite and Richard and Bertram Klein’s Cash Control, both headed to the $75,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes for Cox, each worked a half-mile. Selenite went in 50.80, while the versatile Cash Control relished the dirt in a smart 49.40.
Steve Landers’ highly regarded and lightly raced Dazzling Gem, third in this year’s Grade II Louisiana Derby and fourth in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, worked an easy half in 50 flat for Cox as he prepares for next Saturday’s Tenacious. He was joined on the tab by stablemate and Tenacious entrant Financial Modeling, a former Chad Brown trainee now owned by Ten Strike Racing (previously owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence until late spring), who negotiated his half in 50.40.