By Michael Adolphson —-
• Bourne in Nixa Aims for Three Straight in Sugar Bowl; Ebben to Jan. 13 Lecomte
• Stidham After More Godolphin Glory in Letellier
• Mobile Bay Exits Classic in Good Order; Next Start to Be Decided
• Stall Looks Ahead with Louisiana Champions Day Heroes
BOURNE IN NIXA AIMS FOR THREE STRAIGHT IN SUGAR BOWL; EBBEN TO JAN. 13 LECOMTE
Robert and Lawana Low’s Bourne In Nixa will be shooting for a hat trick when he makes his stakes debut in Saturday’s $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for trainer Steve Margolis.
The son of More Than Ready, who will break from post five with James Graham in the irons, scored a maiden win second time out at Indiana Grand on Oct. 11 and followed his first victory with an allowance win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
“He’s doing real good,” Margolis said. “He’s coming off that win at Churchill and he’s got about five weeks so this race is a next logical step for him. We’re looking forward to Saturday. He’s an improving horse so hopefully he can give us another good effort.”
Bourne In Nixa isn’t the only 2-year-old that Margolis is excited about. Craig Aguilar’s Ebben was a decisive allowance winner over the Churchill Downs main track on Nov. 25.
“He’s improved and had some hard luck in his stakes but he’s stepped up at Churchill with a big effort,” Margolis said. “He got a smooth ride and ran big. We’re excited about him. (Owner) Craig (Aguilar) is excited. We’ll aim for the (Gr. III) Lecomte (on Jan. 13) because he’s a two-time winner and the timing is good. It gives us about six weeks which is perfect for him.”
STIDHAM AFTER MORE GODOLPHIN GLORY IN LETELLIER
Trainer Mike Stidham scored his first stakes victory for prestigious Godolphin Racing with Cedartown in last month’s Zia Park Derby and looks to continue such success with the world-renowned Thoroughbred operation when he sends out Stellar Moon in Saturday’s $50,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes.
Breaking from the rail under Joe Bravo, the royally bred daughter of Tapit was fifth in her career debut at Delaware Park but redeemed herself in the following start when she broke her maiden by 1¾ lengths under apprentice rider Jose Bracho. Her dam, Stellar Jayne was a multiple Grade I winner herself and finished third in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Distaff behind Kentucky Oaks winner Ashado. Of the seven foals she has produced, however, none of them have won a stakes race, but Stellar Moon will try to change that.
“We’re obviously delighted to be training for Godolphin and winning that stake at Zia was a big step in the right direction for us,” Stidham said. “Certainly Stellar Moon is bred beautifully as most all of Godolphin’s horses are. Especially for a filly to win a stakes race to get black type is very important, she’s got a lot of talent and was impressive breaking her maiden. We’re looking for a big effort in the stake here on Saturday.”
MOBILE BAY EXITS CLASSIC IN GOOD ORDER; NEXT START TO BE DECIDED
Tigertail Ranch’s Louisiana superstar Mobile Bay emerged from his gritty effort in a memorable edition of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic on Dec. 9 in good order according to trainer Victor Arceneaux.
“He came out of it good, we were expecting him to run well,” Arceneaux said. “I was a little concerned with the race because I missed the prep race at Delta that we were scheduled to run in a few weeks prior and we had to scratch him. That was my biggest concern. He overcame everything and he really dug in. He won several races that close out of state when we shipped him. He’s an amazing horse and he doesn’t like to lose.”
A next start for the two-time winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic has not been picked out yet. A son of Lone Star Special, Mobile Bay joined 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.
STALL LOOKS AHEAD WITH LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY HEROES
Trainer Al Stall, Jr. reported that his rising Louisiana-bred star Minit To Stardom exited her wide-margined victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie in good order. Owned by Brittlyn Stable Inc., the daughter of Star Guitar will likely stick with running against fellow Louisiana-breds make her next start on New Year’s Eve in the fillies division of the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity.
“She came out of it great, she (went) back to the track (Wednesday),” Stall. said. “She’s eligible for the Louisiana Futurity fillies division so we’ll take a long look at that.”
Later on in the Louisiana Champions Day card, Town and Country Racing LLC’s My Miss Chiff gave Stall. another stakes victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint. The graded stakes placed daughter of Into Mischief will either target the $100,000 Louisiana Premier Night Matron at Delta Downs on Feb. 10 or step back into open company in the $125,000 American Beauty Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Jan 27.