By Brian W. Spencer —-
NEW ORLEANS (December 6, 2017) – Defending Louisiana Champions Day Classic winner Mobile Bay leads a field of eight Louisiana-breds in the 27th running of the $150,000 event on Saturday, Dec. 9 where he will break from post three, but the 5-year old son of Lone Star Special will have to overcome a 10-month layoff if he wants to protect his title. Trained by Victor Arceneaux and ridden by Diego Saenz, the state-bred millionaire was last seen winning the Louisiana Bred Premier Night Championship Stakes at Delta Downs in February, his lone start of the year. Despite his hiatus from racing action, Mobile Bay does still have a major class advantage over the field, as he is the only horse in the field with multiple stakes wins against open company. At age 3, he won the Super Derby (GII) at Louisiana Downs and the Zia Park Derby at its namesake track. The following year he triumphed in Sam Houston’s Maxxam Gold Cup and the Sunland Park Handicap later that spring. Mobile Bay also will attempt join Blissful Union (1991-92), Magnify (1997-98), Costa Rising (2006-07) and Sunbean (2013-14) as the only two-time winners of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic. All-time leading Louisiana-bred Star Guitar was a three-time winner in 2009-11.
Challenging Mobile Bay will be 4-year-old filly Seaside Candy, who is cross-entered in the Louisiana Champions’ Day Ladies Stakes, but will likely opt for a shot at the boys according to trainer Al Stall, Jr. The Stewart Madison-owned daughter of Twirling Candy’s last start was a victorious one when she defeated open company in an allowance race at Delta Downs on Oct. 27, which was her first trip to the winner’s circle since defeating fellow Louisiana-breds the Si Cima Stakes at the Fair Grounds last November. Colby Hernandez rides from post five.
Underpressure will make his 12th start of the year, when he breaks from post seven under Corey Lanerie. Chris Richard trains the hard-knocking son of Birdstone who has been highly consistent throughout, having only finished out of the money twice this year. So far, the highlight of Underpressure’s eventful year was a victory in Evangeline Downs’ Louisiana Legends Cheval Stakes on July 8.
Rounding out the field are One King’s Man (Gerard Melancon), Mageez (Mitchell Murrill), Classy Bird (Eddie Martin, Jr.), Grande Basin (Miguel Mena), and Extra Credit (Shaun Bridgmohan).
There will be ten other stakes races on a day worth a total of $1.1 million that will be run Saturday. Additional highlights include:
Two prior winners of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint will square off in the 27th edition of the six-furlong event. Jockamo’s Song, winner of the Sprint two years ago, will attempt to turn the tables on My Friend Flavin who defeated him last year at 15-1 odds and is winless in three starts since last year’s outing. Trained by Mike Stidham, the 5-year-old son of Half Ours will break from post four under Gerard Melancon and enters the race fresh off victories in the Louisiana Legends Sprint at Evangeline Downs on July 8 and the Louisiana Cup Sprint at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 5.
Nubin Ridge finished a respective fourth and second behind Jockamo’s Song in his two stakes victories, but the 7-year-old son of Gold Tribute comes into the Louisiana Champions Sprint Stakes off two triumphs as well. Following his runner-up effort in the Louisiana Cup Sprint, Nubin Ridge scored an allowance win at Louisiana Downs against open company before successfully stretching out to a mile in Delta Downs’ Gold Cup Stakes on Oct. 21. Ashley Broussard will pilot Nubin Ridge out of the six hole.
Rounding out the field are Hunker Down (Corey Lanerie), Philly (Colby Hernandez), Stand Him Up (Gabriel Saez), Just Kissing Buck (Diego Saenz), Biblical Strength (Jason Meaux), Outofthisgalaxy (Kerwin Clark), and Double Barrel Man (Shaun Bridgmohan).
Ten 2-year-olds face off in the six-furlong $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, which features two-time Evangeline Downs stakes winner Ready Prospector. The Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC-owned son of Custom For Carlos broke his maiden in the D.S. Shine Young Stakes on July 29 before scoring a 2½-length victory in the Evangeline Downs Prince Stakes on Sept. 2 for trainer Oscar Modica. Ready Prospector took a shot at the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland last out, but was a well-beaten ninth behind Free Drop Billy.
Pound For Pound (Eddie Martin Jr.), Prayer Boy (Kerwin Clark), Uncle Herbie (Jamie Theriot), Divine Bean (Colby Hernandez), Cajun Creed (Florent Geroux), Greeley Went West (James Graham), Singing Deacon (Aubrie Green), Exigent (Miguel Mena),and Aceguitar (Ted Gondron) complete the field.
Darque Horse Racing LLC’s Southern Mister puts a three-race winning streak on the line in the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter, which is run at a mile on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. Breaking from post two under Kerwin Clark, the 7-year-old son of Yonaguska enters the race coming off a pair of starter allowance victories at Delta Downs and prior to that, won a starter allowance optional claiming at Louisiana Downs.
Rounding out the field are Well’s Gold (Miguel Mena), Princetonian (Florent Geroux), Sky Stanza (Ashley Broussard), Thunderberg (Diego Saenz), Fist Full (Sophie Doyle) and B Brazin (Jansen Melancon).
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.
Cover Photo: Mobile Bay captures 2016 Champions Day Classic; Hodges Photography, Lou Hodges, Jr