By Brian W. Spencer —-
Trainer Brad Cox; Oaklawn/Coady Photo
COX SENDS TWO FRESH ONES FOR TENACIOUS; SIX STAKES TOP FAIR GROUNDS’ SANTA SUPER SATURDAY
NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 13, 2017) – Trainer Brad Cox will send out a fresh pair of Steve Landers-owned aspirants for the $75,000 Tenacious Stakes, a mile and seventy yard event that drew a field of nine and is one of six stakes events on Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ Santa Super Saturday Card on Dec. 16.
Breaking from post five as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite, Dazzling Gem last saw racing action on Mar. 18 when he finished fourth in the Essex Stakes at Oaklawn Park behind Mor Spirit. The son of Misremembered will be in search of his first victory over the Fair Grounds main track and was a well beaten seventh as the favorite in last year’s edition of the Tenacious. His following two Fair Grounds outings were only lost by slim margins. He was only second beaten a three-quarters of a length behind Hawaakom in the Louisiana Handicap and was third in the Gr. III Mineshaft Handicap behind Honorable Duty.
As a 3-year-old, Dazzling Gem made some noise on the Road To the Kentucky Derby with a third place effort in the Gr. II Louisiana Derby behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner. He was also fourth in the Gr. I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. While he is entered for Saturday’s race, Cox has cross-entered the horse in Remington Park’s Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial scheduled for the following day, Dec. 17. Shaun Bridgmohan is named the rider in both races.
Leofric, breaking from the seven hole at 5-1 morning line odds, also must overcome a long layoff and has not run since a win against allowance optional claiming company at Oaklawn Park in April, his third win in a row. The 4-year-old son of Candy Ride moved to Cox from the barn of trainer Neil Howard at the very beginning of the year without a victory but has turned things around and has not lost a race since then. His debut for the Cox barn took place on Jan. 21 when defeating maidens at Oaklawn Park, which was followed by an allowance win over the Hot Springs oval. Jockey Corey Lanerie has the mount.
Columbine Stables’ Money Flows breaks between the Landers-Cox contingent from post six at 9-2 morning line odds. Despite having never seen the racetrack until age four, the Al Stall-trainee has shown nothing but consistency having only finishing out of the money once in 14 lifetime starts. He will also be in search of his first stakes victory, but ran second in the Gr. III Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs and in February, was third in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston. Last out, he defeated stakes winners Mo Tom and fellow Tenacious entrant Far Right in an allowance optional claiming event at Churchill Downs. Miguel Mena, the pilot for his last two outings, will be back in the irons.
Rounding out the field (with jockey and odds) are Fear The Cowboy (Jesus Rios, 9-2), Far Right (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 10-1), Sticksstatleydude (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 10-1), Cooptado (Declan Cannon, 6-1), Shut The Box (Joe Bravo, 15-1) and Field of Courage (Florent Geroux, 6-1).
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Sir Dudley Digges draws the two hole and is slated as the 3-1 favorite in the $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial, which is run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
Trained by Mike Maker, the son of Gio Ponti won an allowance optional claiming over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs last out by a head over fellow Diliberto Memorial contender, Olympia Star Inc.’s Applicator. He will be in search of his second stakes victory this year on Saturday. In September, he won the Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs over Thatcher Street, also entered for Saturday’s event. The highlight of Sir Dudley Digges’ 21-race career, however, took place last year when the Ontario-bred won the Queens Plate in his native Canada. While he never visited the winner’s circle for the remainder of the year following that effort, he has done so four times this year and will seek his fifth win of 2017 on Saturday. Jockey Corey Lanerie will be up.
Maker also sends out Three Diamonds Farms’ Tizzarunner who breaks from the rail under Joe Bravo. The son of Tizway was previously conditioned by Mark Casse but switched to the Maker barn this year and made his 2017 in August finishing a well-beaten eighth in Laurel Park’s Find Stakes. The Maryland-bred followed that lack luster effort with two victories in his home state against allowance company over Laurel’s turf course. In 15 lifetime starts, Tizarunner has won four times but will be attempting his first stakes win on Saturday.
Clark Brewster’s Turbo Street (Aus) enters the Diliberto Memorial fresh off a stakes victory in the Remington Green Stakes on Sept. 24 at its namesake track, his first United States victory The son of Encosta de Lago (Aus) started his career in his native Australia before being sent to America under the care of trainer Brian Lynch but was claimed for $25,000 by current trainer Steve Asmussen. Florent Geroux will be aboard for Saturday’s race.
The Diliberto Memorial field is completed by Thatcher Street (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 9-2), Dimension (GB) (James Graham, 20-1), High Noon Rider (Shaun Bridgmohan, 20-1), Up With The Birds (Jamie Theriot, 8-1), Saham (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 6-1), and Applicator (Mitchell Murrill, 8-1).
A field of twelve will line up for the $75,000 Bonapaw Stakes, run at a distance of five-and-a-half furlongs on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
The lukewarm favorite for the turf sprint event is William Stiritz’s Singingintheheat who is slated at 9-2 morning line odds. Trained by Scott Becker, the front running son of Latent Heat kicked off his 5-year-old campaign at Arlington Park in July coming off a nine-month layoff when he won an allowance race over the Chicago oval’s Polytrack surface. Four starts later he found the Arlington winner’s circle once more and was claimed by Becker from former conditioner Shana Schiemann. Since switching barns, Singingintheheat has a victory over the Arlington Park turf course over stakes winner Nun The Less and last out finished second behind Undrafted in an allowance event over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course Jockey Chris Emigh piloted the horse in both efforts and will return to the saddle for Saturday’s race.
Jaguar Racing LLC’s Kid Perfect, who breaks from the nine hole, has spent most of his racing career in the claiming ranks but comes into the Bonapaw off three consecutive victories. The quickly improving son of Majesticperfection was previously conditioned by Kenny McPeek but was claimed in June of this year by Angel Montano who trained him to his first career victory back in September in a maiden claiming event at Indiana Grand, which he won by four lengths. Since then, he has shown nothing but class improvement having stepped up to a six-length allowance win over the Indiana Grand main track and last out won a turf sprint allowance race by an emphatic eight lengths.
Rounding out the field are Waging War (Colby Hernandez, 12-1), Field of Courage (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 5-1), Blue Wings (Adam Beschizza, 10-1), Sir Navigator (Corey Lanerie, 5-1), Eden’s Grey Kitten (Gerard Melancon, 8-1), Show Bound (Chantal Sutherland, 20-1), Irritator (David Cohen, 10-1), Chiltern Street (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 6-1), Imma Bling (Joe Bravo, 15-1), and Balandeen (Miguel Mena, 20-1).
The Bonapaw Stakes is named in honor of Dennis Richard’s hard-knocking multiple graded stakes winner who was a nine-time winner at the Fair Grounds, which included two consecutive victories in the Thanksgiving Handicap. The son of Sabona made his presence known outside of the New Orleans oval over the years and scored stakes victories at Arlington Park, Saratoga, Prairie Meadows and Louisiana Downs.
Darrell and Sadie Brommer’s Prado’s Sweet Ride will go for her fifth stakes victory when she takes on eight other fillies in mares in Saturday’s $75,000 Blushing KD Stakes at a mile-and-a-sixteenth over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
Breaking from post seven as the 5-2 morning line favorite, the Illinois-bred daughter of Fort Prado was third in last year’s edition of the Blushing K.D. but has four stakes victories over four different surfaces. As a 3-year-old, she scored a graded stakes victory in Churchill Downs’ Gr. III Regret Stakes under the care of Chris Block where she defeated graded stakes winners Don’t Leave Me and Cristina’s Journey. Last year, she found success at the stakes level in Canterbury Park’s Minnesota HBPA Distaff Stakes. She added two more stakes victories to her resume this year in the New Orleans Ladies Distaff Stakes over the Fair Grounds lawn for the late Richie Scherer and was a 13-length winner of Hawthorne’s Illini Princess Stakes last out for Block. The Blushing K.D. will be her first start for new conditioner Neil Pessin and Jose Valdivia, Jr. has the mount.
Stonestreet Stables’ Valadorna, who drew post eight as the 3-1 second choice, will scratch from Saturday’s event as she ran and won an allowance race on Dec. 8 over the Fair Grounds main track. She will target the $50,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes on Dec. 26, per trainer Mark Casse.
Joyous Thunder (Mitchell Murill, 8-1), Vagabond Princess (Jack Gilligan, 6-1), Emerald Pond (Joe Bravo, 10-1), Giada Vegas (Corey Lanerie, 12-1), Princess Erindelle (Marcelino Pedroza, 6-1), Majestic Angel (Florent Geroux, 10-1), Shes A True Beauty (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 10-1).
The Blushing K.D. Stakes is named in honor of the 1997 Gr. I Kentucky Oaks winner. Owned by James and Sue Burns and trained by Sam David, Jr., the daughter of Blushing John was a three-time stakes winner over the Fair Grounds main track as a 3-year-old winning the Fair Grounds Oaks, Davona Dale (now known as the Rachel Alexandra) and the Fair Grounds Sales Derby.
Allied Racing Stable LLC’s Upset Brewing will come off a three-month layoff when she breaks from post six as the 7-2 favorite in the $50,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes. The 2-year-old daughter of Justin Phillip was a well-beaten fifth in the Gr. II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs last time out, which was her lone start around two turns, but will shorten back up to six furlongs on Saturday for trainer William “Buff” Bradley. She broke her maiden by 9¾ lengths at Ellis Park on her third attempt, which she followed up with a second-place effort in the Ellis Park Debutante where she finished one length behind Kelly’s Humor. Robby Albarado has the call.
Completing the field are Stellar Moon (Joe Bravo, 6-1), No Blame (Adam Beschizza, 5-1), She’s Pretty Lucky (Florent Geroux, 9-2), My Girl Janelle (Brian Hernandez, Jr., 10-1), Vision of Justice (Corey Lanerie, 9-2), and Thoughtless Doll (Hector Rosario, Jr., 4-1).
Jackpot Ranch’s Steel Shot is the 8-5 morning line favorite for the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes, the first of six stakes events scheduled for Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots’ Santa Super Saturday card. Breaking from post five under Corey Lanerie, the son of Trappe Shot made his career debut at Churchill Downs in September where he was a well-beaten fourth behind Grandpa Knows Best, Fight On and Karens Cove, all of which went on to win their following start. His next race was a much-improved second-place effort at Keeneland where he led most of the journey but gave way to Private Eye in the stretch run. Third time was the charm for the Mark Casse trainee as he broke his maiden in wire-to-wire over the Louisville oval.
Silis (Chantal Sutherland, 10-1), Metric System (Hector Rosiario, Jr., 6-1), Land Battle (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 2-1) and Bourne In Nixa (James Graham, 5-2) complete the field.
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.