By Michael Adolphson/Brain W. Spencer —-
• Farrell Settling in at Fair Grounds
• Girvin Enjoying His Down Time
• Pegasus-Bound Forever Unbridled and Seeking the Soul Arrive
FARRELL SETTLING IN AT FAIR GROUNDS
The queen of the Fair Grounds has returned. Farrell, owned by breeder Coffeepot Stables and trained by three-time Breeders’ Cup-winning conditioner Wayne Catalano, has taken up residence at the course over which she swept the three local Grade I Kentucky Oaks preps last season — the Listed Silverbulletday Stakes, Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.
“She’s doing great,” Catalano said. “I’m happy with her. We thought about running her in the (Grade II) Falls City (at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24), but it was too close to her last race. We don’t have any plans just yet, but she will work soon. I’m in no rush just yet.”
After a disastrous run and eased last-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks as the post time second choice, the daughter of Malibu Moon was given the summer off. Returning in the Listed $100,000 Dogwood Stakes on Sept. 23, the half-sister to multiple Grade I winners was a lackluster fifth, beaten 10¼ lengths under regular rider Channing Hill. She righted that wrong next out with a stylish victory in the Grade II Chilukki Stakes, besting older mares.
“You always like to see them come back and get better from two to three,” Catalano continued. “I’m happy she’s doing good right now and we’ll look at big races next year.”
While no plans are set in stone as far as a race, Catalano did say that the Apple Blossom and other such Grade I events are the goal with the soon-to-be 4-year-old filly.
GIRVIN ENJOYING HIS DOWN TIME
Reigning Louisiana Derby champion and Grade I winner Girvin is doing well on the farm, according to owner Brad Grady. The son of Tale of Ekati has been enjoying his down time at Grand Oaks in Ocala, Florida, the farm owned by Grady, and will return to training later this winter in the Joe Sharp barn at the Fair Grounds.
“He’s doing well right now and we are giving him 60 days to relax,” Grady said. “He needed the time and we thought we owed it to him. In January we’ll probably start training him and putting some light exercise into him. He’s a man on the farm right now. He’s full of himself.”
No immediate goals have been established for the dark bay colt, but Grady did say that a return to Grade I company is the goal before the winner of the Grade I Haskell Invitational eventually heads to stud.
PEGASUS-BOUND FOREVER UNBRIDLED AND SEEKING THE SOUL ARRIVE
Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled and Seeking the Soul, each exiting Grade I wins and both aiming to the $16-million Grade I Pegasus World Cup, have arrived at their winter base of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and have resumed training.
“The mare is doing great,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “She jogged and I haven’t decided when I’ll breeze her yet. Both she and (Grade I Clark Handicap winner) Seeking the Soul are doing very good and are very happy. I’m glad to be back in New Orleans. I already tore up some gumbo and some oysters.”
Stewart confirmed that both horses are being aimed toward the Pegasus, the richest race in the world. No riding assignments have been finalized, as journeyman John Velazquez rode both in their last-out triumphs, including a championship-clinching Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff victory by Forever Unbridled.
STAKES RECAPS: Chanteline, Rapid Rhythm Take Split Divisions of Richie Scherer Memorial
NEW ORLEANS (December 2, 2017) – Ten Broeck Farm’s Chanteline and Robert Evans’ Rapid Rhythm captured split divisions of Saturday’s $50,000 Richie Scherer Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, named in honor of late trainer and Fair Grounds mainstay Richie Scherer.
Chanteline, ridden by Jamie Theriot for trainer Steve Asmussen, broke well and settled into a pace-pressing trip behind the early leader, Our Valor, through an opening quarter in 21.87. As the leader began to tire nearing the top of the stretch, Chanteline edged clear into the lane after a half-mile split of 45.19 and was kept to task in the lane to hold by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:03.30 for the 5½-furlong turf trip. Speedway Stable’s Mike Stidham-trained One Last Shot rallied from midpack to finish second under Jack Gilligan while 3½ lengths in front of Brad Grady’s even-money favorite Triple Chelsea under Robby Albarado for trainer Joe Sharp.
“She broke well today and I just let her be,” Theriot said. “She got left last time and came running, so today I just let her be and she found a good spot down the backside.”
Chanteline, a 5-year-old Majesticperfection mare, won for the fifth time in 19 career starts and earned $30,070 for the victory to boost her lifetime bankroll to $312,722. She returned $6.40, $4.40 and $2.60. One Last Shot paid $11.20 and $5, with Triple Chelsea returning $2.20.
Honey Bunny, Scatter Gun, Thoughtless, Two Wonders and Our Valor completed the order of finish.
Later in the day, Rapid Rhythm returned to her winning ways and extended her unbeaten streak on the Stall-Wilson turf course to six with a half-length win in the second division of the Richie Scherer Memorial.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for trainer Mike Stidham, the 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal settled off a modest set of splits in 22.67 and 46.46 before launching a bid down the center of the course. After hitting the top, she withstood a late challenge from Heider Family Stables’ Tom Proctor-trained Contributing under Florent Geroux and completed the 5½-furlong trip in 1:04.01. It was a nose back to Winchester Racing’s Miss Gossip (Ire) in third under Brian Hernandez, Jr. for trainer Andrew McKeever.
“I was a passenger,” Bridgmohan said. “Mike told me don’t change anything about her and just get her in the middle of the turf course, and sure enough that’s all I had to do.”
“She kind of tailed off on us a bit,” Stidham added. “She doesn’t handle the heat well and we gave her time off and focused on Fair Grounds.”
Rapid Rhythm won her ninth race from 23 career starts and earned $29,760 to increase her lifetime earnings to $277,997. She returned $9.60, $5.40 and $3.60, with Contributing paying $6.60 and $4.80 and Miss Gossip returning $4.60.
Luvin Bullies, Nite Delite, Boom Bam Bing, Simple Surprise, Sky Flower, Burma Road and Nobody’s Fault completed the running order.
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 11 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 146th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 105thrunning of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 18, 2017 through March 31, 2018. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.