We had a fantastic Saturday of racing at the Fair Grounds. In case you missed it, we'll go over the eight stakes races, which includes the $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) and the $400,00 Fair Grounds Oaks Stakes (G2). The winners of these races earned a whopping 100 points for their respective roads to the Kentucky Derby & Oaks. Plus we saw our 2021 Pegasus World Cup Turf winner strut his stuff in the Muniz Memorial (G2), topped off by the older-horse division duking it out in the $400K New Orleans Classic (G2). Let's get to recapping.
The $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) was won by HOT ROD CHARLIE, ridden by Joel Rosario, trained by Leandro Mora, owned by Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing LLC, and William Strauss — in a determined victory! The West Coast invader was all heart in his stretch battle.
HOT ROD CHARLIE got bumped around at the break but was able to hustle for the lead and set the pace. They went 23.10 and 47.04 for the opening fractions. It was a moderate tempo, and Joel Rosario was able to relax him on his run along the backside. When they turned for home, HOT ROD CHARLIE was met with the challenge by MIDNIGHT BOURBON who rose up to his outside. PROXY, MANDALOUN, and RIGHTANDJUST were battling but O BESOS was making up the best ground among them. HOT ROD CHARLIE was tough as nails — he turned back MIDNIGHT BOURBON in deep stretch and went on to win by two lengths. MIDNIGHT BOURBON held second by a head over O BESOS who closed in from the rail to get up for third. The final time for the one mile and three-sixteenths was 1:55.06 — a new track record.
HOT ROD CHARLIE paid $7.80 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.60 to show. He is by OXBOW out of INDIAN MISS by INDIAN CHARLIE. He achieved his second victory in seven total starts, pushing his earnings to $1,005,700. He earns 100 qualifying points for his road to the Kentucky Derby and climbs up to #1 on the leaderboard with 110 points!
The $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks Stakes (G2) was won by TRAVEL COLUMN, ridden by Florent Geroux, trained by Brad Cox, owned by OXO Equine LLC — in a convincing score.
TRAVEL COLUMN veered inward at the start, but secured a tracking-trip behind pacesetter SOUPER SENSATIONAL through opening fractions of 24.35 and 48.64. The group raced compact, no more than five lengths from to back. When they arrived at the turn, TRAVEL COLUMN was full of run for Florent Geroux. They take command with two furlongs to go, and dash home for the win, with no threat around her, save for CLARIERE — who was late with her rally but could only get up for second. SOUPER SENSATIONAL set the pace but was no match and settled for third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth was 1:42.75.
TRAVEL COLUMN paid $6.20 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.40 to show. She is by FROSTED out of SWINGIT by VICTORY GALLOP. She wins his third race in five total starts, pushing her earnings to $517,184. She'll add 100 points for road to the Kentucky Oaks, plus she reclaims the top spot on the Leaderboard with 132 points.
The $300K Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) was won by COLONEL LIAM, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Todd Pletcher, owned by Lawana L. And Robert E. Low — in a dominant win. COLONEL LIAM took a patient trip for jockey Irad Ortiz, rating along the rail, just two lengths off the lead. They ran opening fractions of 23.79 and 49.08. They slowed the pace down that second quarter. With three furlongs to go, COLONEL LIAM is asked for run and he responds immediately ranging up to the leaders, then taking command down the stretch. Long shot TWO EMMYS at 24-1 tried to go with COLONEL LIAM but gray colt is too classy and goes on to win. TWO EMMY's finished second, LOGICAL MYTH ran third. The final time for the one mile and one-eigth was 1:48.33.
COLONEL LIAM paid $3.40 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.40 to show. He is by LIAM's MAP out of AMAZEMENT by BERNARDINI. He's now won three in a row, pushing his earnings to $870,965 and earned his highest speed figure off this win.
The $400K New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) was won by CHESS CHIEF, ridden by Luis Saez, trained by Dallas Steward, owned by Estate of James J. Coleman Jr. — getting up in the final jumps to tag OWENDALE at the wire!
CHESS CHIEF was content to rate behind horses while pacesetter ROADSTER set the fractions of 24.11 and 48.30. They raced compact along the backside, a mere four lengths separated them from front to back. When they turned for home, it was OWENDALE who engaged ROADSTER for the lead, and OWENDALE looked strong coming down the stretch. But that was only for a moment — CHESS CHIEF was bearing down on the leaders from the center of the track. He found his best stride with a sixteenth of a mile left to go, and tagged OWENDALE right at the wire to win by a head. OWENDALE settled for second, ENFORCEABLE got up for third. The final time for the one mile and one eighth distance was 1:49.24.
CHESS CHIEF paid $12.00 to win, $4.60 to plae, and $3.20 to show. He is by INTO MISCHIEF out of UN BLESSED by MINESHAFT. He's now won his fourth race from 23 starts, pushing his earnings to $632.048.
The $150K Tom Benson Memorial Stakes was won by SUMMER IN SARATOGA, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Joe Sharp, owned by Highlander Training Center — with an impressive turn of foot!
SUMMER IN SARATOGA rated in midpack among a strung out field who went an opening quarter of 23.71 and a half of 47.68. Racing along the back stretch, SUMMER IN SARATOGA is racing covered up along the rail. As they turn for home, she makes great headway but finds herself stuffed in traffic while 4 wide. But Irad Ortiz Jr. finds a gap and they shoot on through — and with good energy, they burst forward and use the length of the stretch to catch up to the front runners and beat DOMINGA by a neck. WINNING ENVELOPE finished third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth on the turf was 1:42.15.
SUMMER IN SARATOGA paid $20.20 to win, $9.40 to place, and $7.80 to show. She is by HARD SPUN out of LOVE THEWAY YOUARE by ARCH. She earns her second win in a row, pushing her earnings to $270,092 and earnings her highest speed figure for the effort.
The $100K Crescent City Derby was won by WHO TOOK THE MONEY, ridden by Gabriel Saez, trained by W. Calhoun, owned by Allied Racing Stable, LLC — in a neck victory over HIGHLAND CREEK.
WHO TOOK THE MONEY had actually flipped over in the post parade and unseated his rider, but after getting him in control the vet passed him as good-to-go for the race. WHO TOOK THE MONEY raced in sixth for Gabriel Saez while front runners set a tempo of 24.45 and 48.99. When they reached the stretch, WHO TOOK THE MONEY cut the corner with a dream trip and took command and held off a late threat from HIGHLAND CREEK to secure the win. UNANIMOUSLY finished third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth was 1:44.73.
WHO TOOK THE MONEY paid $3.00 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.40 to show. He is by STREET BOSS out of SPEIGHT'S COLONY by SPEIGHTSTOWN. He's now won three in a row and earned $126,600 for his connections.
The $100K Costa Rising Stakes was won by CLASSY JOHN, ridden by Colby Hernandez, trained by Dallas Steward, owned by Valene Farms LLC — at 30-1, in a head bob victory!
CLASSY JOHN broke alertly and was positioned in second behind 16-1 pacesetter X CLOWN through early fractions of 22.59 and 45.54. They raced strung out over a lot of ground. Almost fifteen lengths separated them front to back. When they hit the stretch, CLASSY JOHN steals the lead from X CLOWN, but has to hold off the late charges of NO PAROLE and MONTE MAN who swing wide with their rally. Down the stretch, It is CLASSY JOHN who is going the strongest — and keeps his head in front of the wire over X CLOWN who battled back briefly to finish a closer second. MONTE MAN got up for third. The final time for the five and a half furlongs on turf was 1:03.17.
CLASSY JOHN paid $61.00 to win, $22.60 to place, and $10.60 to show. He is by SONGANDAPRAYER out of KITTY'S GOT CLASS by OLD FORESTER. He's won for the first time in two years, posting his highest speed figure to date. In total, he's won four times and pushed his earnings to $279,552.
The $100K Crescent City Oaks Stakes was won by AUSTRALASIA, ridden by Florent Geroux, trained by Brad Cox, owned by Magnifico LLC and Guy, Hubert — with big strides, pulling away comfortably.
AUSTRALASIA was bumped a bit at the break but recovered to be positioned in second, while pacesetter WINNING ROMANCE set early fractions of 23.62 and 46.83. AUSTRALAISA relaxed nicely for Florent Geroux. When they reach the top of the stretch, AUSTRALASIA easily brought Florent Geroux up to the leader, but WINNING ROMANCE is stubborn and makes a race of it against the 1-9 favorite. With a sixteenth left to run, AUSTRALASIA gets down to business and she lengthens her stride, and ultimately strides away to win by almost three lengths. WINNING ROMANCE was game in defeat; settles for second. BIG TIME ran third. The final time for the one mile and seventy yards on dirt was 1:42.72.
AUSTRALASIA paid $2.20 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by SKY KINGDOM out of AYALA STRAND by TIZNOW. She earns her fourth win in a row, and pushes her earnings to $193,200.