Al Stall Jr. Starts Strong at Hometown Meet

Al Stall Jr. Starts Strong at Hometown Meet
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications

Trainer Al Stall Jr. and wife Nicole

In the spectrum of sports entertainment, it is easy to root for the underdog and cheer against the favorite; to want to spread the spoils and enjoy the theatrics of the unexpected. In the microcosm of Thoroughbred horse racing, such is amplified, as significant emphasis is placed on who embodies which role, with illuminated odds branding why they are monetarily worthy of your endorsement.

But what happens when the fan favorite and local staple is a bit of a longshot—when the defining lines of dark horse and horse-to-beat are heavily blurred, like a night of too many hand grenades in the French Quarter?

Enter Al Stall Jr.

The fledgling flush of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots‘ 80-day meet is The Al Stall Jr. Show, and the rest of us are just extras. Within a year that has tested the tenacity of the New Orleans native, Stall (pictured on the cover with wife Nicole) has put on a clinic during the first two weeks of the Crescent City oval’s 145th racing season, winning with six of his first 11 starters—including a pair of stakes victories with Seaside Candy (Si Cima Stakes) and Yockey’s Warrior (Thanksgiving Handicap). His runners finished second three times and only worse than fourth once as the meet gets underway.

“Racing is great when things go well for you,” Stall said. “You just have to know how to deal with it when they don’t. We had a slow summer and we had little issues with horses. Seaside Candy and Yockey’s Warrior are great examples where they went through a lot of minor setbacks and we had to be patient and give them the time they needed.

“The game isn’t as difficult when they’re sound,” he added. “When you get all that behind you is when you start having your horses doing well together—and we have some more coming after the turn of the year that I really like and are exciting. Hopefully we will do well.”

The former Frankie Brothers assistant’s victories land him on top of the Fair Grounds standings, placing him two ahead of defending meet champion Mike Stidham—himself with a stellar 10-4-1-1 start through Saturday’s card—and nearly doubling that rival in purses earned. In fact, the $200,260 banked through the first six race days is already 29.3% of what his barn earned during the 2015-16 season ($683,175) and 35.5% of his 2014-15 total ($564,020). On victories, he is on pace to smash the 15 and 21 wins of the aforementioned meets. Stall could give the local heavyweight stables of Stidham, Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox, and Joe Sharp a serious run for their money, despite operating with appreciably less stock.

Such a promising commencement to what will be a long four-and-a-half-month meet is just what the candid conditioner and winner of 31 graded stakes appears to have needed. The 55-year-old father of two and only trainer to defeat the great Zenyatta saw many of his top horses go to the sidelines or sold—including Brittlyn Stable’s stakes-winning Forevamoand Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s graded stakes winner and multiple grade I-placed Paid Up Subscriber—while also parting ways with longtime client Claiborne Farm, who co-owned the team’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Blame  , in early summer.

“I have great owners and I’m very thankful for them,” said Stall, who holds an impressive 19.6% career strike rate. “They have been great with me and my program. I only had four horses with Claiborne when we parted. It wasn’t earth-shattering and we are still on good terms, but they want to focus on the east coast. I still have excellent owners like Klaravich, G M B Racing, Columbine (Stable), Dixiana (Farm), Brittlyn (Stable), and Stewart Madison, to name a few.

“I’m looking forward to getting Forevamo back,” he continued. “He was a little tired after West Virginia and we were fighting keeping weight on him, so we decided to pull the plug and let him grow up. He went to WinStar and he’s about to come back. I’m eager to see how he does because he’s a big eyeful of a horse and I think the world of him. As far as our 2-year-olds, we got a little behind on them, but my gut tells me there are some good ones in there and, of course, it’s not a bad thing to have good 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds in your barn.”

It is also not a bad thing to have a trainer who is batting 20% on the year and whose forbearance has been beyond fruitful throughout his career. Developing everything from top juveniles like J. B.’s Thunder and Top Decile, to sprinters like Central Banker  , prime grass horses like Joyeux Danseur, and classy campaigners like Apart and Blame, the Al Stall way—whether as underdog or favorite—has often led to the winner’s circle.

“It is absolutely about listening to the horse,” Stall concluded. “You have to know when they’re not asking for a break or when they’ve had a long season and need it. It’s easy to block out something that’s going on and let your ego and adrenaline take over, but we don’t do that. You have to tell the truth, especially with nice horses—because you will get rewarded.”

Clear Creek Stud to Host Annual Stallion Presentation December 3rd

Clear Creek Stud, in Folsom, Louisiana will be holding their annual stallion presentation, Saturday, December 3rd, to showcase their 2017 Stallion Roster. The event which begins at 11:00 am will include distinguished guest speakers from throughout the thoroughbred industry as well as important legislators.

A catered lunch and beverages will be served throughout the event. The festivities will include entertainment, including Santa, face painting and pony rides for youngsters. As always, door prizes will be given. This year Clear Creek is giving a special door prize. One lucky guest will win their choice of either a one-way van trip or 30 days board.

Starting at 12:00 noon, Clear Creek will present their 2017 stallion roster:

Custom For Carlos, a multiple graded stakes winner by More Than Ready. Custom For Carlos, the Louisiana’s Top Freshman Sire of 2015, leads both Louisiana’s 2016 Second Crop sire list and Juvenile sire list. His first crop included Grade 3 Stakes Winner, Big World.

G.W.’s D’Oro, a son of Medaglia D’Oro is out of Champion Louisiana-bred mare Sarah Lane’s Oates. G.W. D’Oro’s first crop will be two year olds of 2017.

Half Ours, a record setting graded stakes winner by Unbridled’s Song, is currently the 2016 Leading Louisiana sire by Louisiana-bred earnings, winners, stakes winners and stakes wins. He was the 2014 and 2015 Louisiana Stallion of the Year, and is on track to be 2016 Louisiana Stallion of the Year.

Ole Rebel, a multiple stakes winning, speedy sprinter by Carson City, is a well established and consistent sire with average earnings per starter of $33,464 and 7% stakes horses.

Star Guitar, is four-time Louisiana-bred Horse of the Year, and the all-time leading Louisiana-bred money earner. His first crop, two-year-olds of 2016, are starting to show the potential this son of Quiet American has in the breeding shed.

 “We enjoy this gathering, connecting with old friends and meeting new ones, and we look forward each year for this chance to visit and discuss matters most relevant to our industry and consider how to best utilize and promote all that is offered by our strong Louisiana State Breeders’ Program that remains the envy of the nation,” says Val Murrell, Clear Creek Stud general manager.

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association Will Award Scholarships at Louisiana Champions Day at The Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots

(New Orleans, La.) – Louisiana Champions Day will take place on Saturday, December 10, at The Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots, New Orleans, La. The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association will award three (3) scholarships, each valued at $1,000, during the event.

The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:

  • Must be a college student enrolled full-time for Spring 2017.
  • Must be in good standing with the college or university.
  • Must be present to win.

Registration: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the designated booth

Races begin: 12:30 p.m.

Drawing time: After the fifth race

The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.

For more information, please call 1-800-772-1195 or visit

November 19-20th Stakes Results

November 19, 2016

Louisiana Jewel S.

Delta Downs, Stakes, $150,000, 2 yo, Fillies, 1 mile, 1:42.17, Fast.

Sashimi Blaster (Quality Road – Pentatonic, by Cure the Blues)

B: Relentless Racing LLC

O: Whispering Oaks Farm LLC and Relentless Racing LLC

T: Steven B. Flint

J: Gerard Melancon

Naughty Little Nun (Songandaprayer – A Little Evil, by Deputy Minister)

B: Rene LaVergne DVM

O: Ed Wright Cattle Company

T: Bernard S. Flint

J: Robby Albarado

Show’em the Heat (Heatseeker (IRE) – Sweet Muqtarib, by Muqtarib)

B: Nunez Farms, LLC

O: William T. Reed

T: W. Bret Calhoun

J: C.J. McMahon

Margins: 1¾, 1, ½

Others: Chases Dixie Belle ($7,500), Madame Begue ($3,000), Jazz Lady ($1,500), Ivana’s Wish ($1,500), My Gal Layla ($1,500), Big Game Baby ($1,500), Nelly Relly ($1,500).


November 19, 2016

Louisiana Legacy S.

Delta Downs, Stakes, $150,000, 2 yo, Colts and Fillies, 1 mile, 1:40.80, Fast.

Magic Vow (Private Vow – Whitewashed, by Broad Brush)

B: J. Adcock

O: Allen Landry

T: Allen Landry

J: Kerwin D. Clark

Lucky Andy (Lookin At Lucky – Sweet Britches, by Strong Hope)

B: George Gary Guidry MD & Walter Dwayne Brown MD

O: Guidry, G. Gary and Brown, W. Dwayne

T: W. Bret Calhoun

J: Roberto Morales

Jack Snipe’s (Half Ours – Rhodelia, by Silver Deputy)

B: Clear Creek Stud Llc

O: Drown, Jeff and Scherer, Gary M.

T: Gary M. Scherer

J: Donnie J. Meche

Margins: 1¼, 1¼, ¾

Others: Walking in Faith ($7,500), Charlie Ballado ($3,000), Paddy O’Lionel ($1,500), Tooth ($1,500), Il Est Vite ($1,500), Dixieland Native ($1,500), Drewmisterio ($1,500).


November 19, 2016

Mr. Sulu Overnight S.

Fair Grounds, Stakes, $50,000, 3 yo’s & up, About 1 mile, 1:36.06, Firm.

Benwill (Leestown – Dynaspice, by Dynaformer)

B: E. O. Pickett

O: Royce G. Roberts

T: Jose R. Mendez

J: John Jacinto

Berniestrike (Wilburn – Unusual Strike, by Unusual Heat)

B: James Boyd

O: James A. Boyd

T: Henry B. Johnson, Jr.

J: Jorge Guzman

String King (Crowned King – String Dancer, by Fly a Kite (IRE))

B: Charlie Smith

O: Charles Craig Smith

T: Charles Craig Smith

J: James Graham

Margins: nose, ¾, neck

Others: Fort Pulaski ($2,880), Hail to the Nile ($1,440), Four Leaf Chief ($500), Hot Zapper ($500), Specialeyes ($500), Rock N Sake ($500).


November 19, 2016

Heitai Overnight S.

Fair Grounds, Stakes, $50,000, 3 yo’s & up, 6 furlongs, 1:10.57, Fast.

Nubin Ridge (Gold Tribute – So Sorry, by The Prime Minister)

B: Neal McFadden & Mary McFadden

O: Circle H Farms

T: Alan Klanfer

J: Ashley Broussard

Jockamo’s Song (Half Ours – Miss Clairnette, by Trophy Hunter)

B: Debbie Allen & David Allen

O: Dare to Dream Stable LLC (Michael Faber)

T: Michael Stidham

J: Mitchell Murrill

Sir Genghis (Tale of the Cat – Staria, by Unbridled’s Song)

B: Randel Stutes

O: Harris, Gillian and Kirk L.

T: Chad Pitzer

J: David Romero Flores.

Margins: head, neck, ½.

Others: Grande Basin ($2,400), John’s Luck ($1,440), Too Dim ($500), C U Tiger ($500), Hitheredarling ($500), Skip the Pinot ($500), Masster Chief Ron, Yankee Gambler, Jslookovrurshoulda, Stand Him Up.


November 19, 2016

Happy Ticket Overnight S.

Fair Grounds, Stakes, $50,000, 3 yo’s & up, Fillies and Mares, 6 furlongs, 1:10.76, Fast.

Sunny Oak (Giant Oak – Heckuva Time, by Gilded Time)

B: Jeff Wahman & Darlene Wahman

O: Keith Plaisance

T: Edward J. Johnston

J: Miguel Mena

Smittys Cougar (Half Ours – Smitty’s Sunshine, by Seeking a Home)

B: Roger Guy Smith

O: Roger G. Smith

T: Ron Faucheux

J: David Romero Flores

Ramona’s Wildcat (Wildcat Heir – Pretty Indian, by Indian Charlie)

B: Georgia Farms Inc

O: W. C. Racing

T: Thomas M. Amoss

J: James Graham

Margins: 2, head, 3

Others: Nadia Anne ($2,400), Persuade Me Lady ($1,440), Wind Chill Factor ($500), Another Pinot ($500), Dreamofhonor ($500), Jackson’s G G ($500), Platinum Lady, Jackie Ems Pal.


November 20, 2016

Si Cima Overnight S.

Fair Grounds, Stakes, $50,000, 3 yo’s & up, Fillies and Mares, 1 mile 70 Yards, 1:43.08, Fast.

Seaside Candy (Twirling Candy – Seaside Affair, by Sea of Secrets)

B: Stewart M. Madison

O: Stewart Mather Madison

T: Albert M. Stall, Jr.

J: Colby J. Hernandez.

Forest Lake (Forestry – Oval, by Kris S)

B: Jake Delhomme & Set-Hut, LLC

O: Set-Hut LLC

T: Jerry Delhomme

J: Hector M. Santiago

Big World (Custom for Carlos – Tensas Wedding Joy, by Broken Vow)

B: Curt Leake & Elm Tree Farm , LLC

O: Maggi Moss

T: Thomas M. Amoss

J: James Graham.

Margins: 4, ½, ½

Others: Pacific Pink ($2,500), Lassie Lynn ($1,500), My Bonne Margie ($500), Grand Farewell ($500).

Line of David to Stand at Red River

G1 stakes winner Line of David is moving from Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky to Red River Farms in Coushatta, Louisiana for the 2017 breeding season.

At three, Line of David defeated eventual Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in the G1 Arkansas Derby. He had three wins and a third from seven starts, earning $662,000 in his racking career.

A son of G1 Haskell Invitational handicap winner Lion Heart, out of Emma’s Dilemma, a winning Capote mare, Line of David is a leading third crop sire. Through October 24, 2016, he ranks #21 among North American third crop sires with $924,028 in 2016 progeny earnings to date. He concluded 2015 ranking #15 among second crop sires in North America.

Line of David is represented by Firing Line who set a new track record in the G3 Sunland Derby and placed 2nd in the G1 Kentucky Derby.

Line of David will be standing as property of a syndicate for a 2017 fee of $2,500 live foal.

Court Vision Relocated to Louisiana

Five-time Grade 1 winner Court Vision, a leading first-crop and second-crop stallion in the North American rankings over the past two years, has been relocated to stand at Acadiana Equine @ Copper Crowne in Opelousas, Louisiana. He will stand as property of a partnership for a fee of $3,500 with discounts for multiple breedings. Court Vision stood the 2016 season at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Court Vision retired sound after punctuating his 31-start career with a victory in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile while closing from 12th against a field that included multiple Eclipse Award winners Gio Ponti and Goldikova (Ire). A son of champion Gulch out of a half sister to Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Summer Squall, Court Vision won at least one Grade 1 stakes in four straight years from ages 3 to 6. While much of his success came on the turf with wins in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, Shadwell Turf Mile, Woodbine Mile and Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in addition to his Breeders’ Cup triumph, he also recorded graded victories on the dirt in the Grade 2 Remsen and Grade 3 Iroquois stakes as a 2-year-old. All told, he scored eight graded stakes wins with earnings of more than $3.7 million. All but three of his lifetime starts came in graded stakes company with 21 of those being Grade 1 competition.

Court Vision is the sire of two of the leading juveniles in Canada this year with his son King and His Court taking the $184,920 Coronation Futurity this past weekend at Woodbine and his undefeated daughter Conquest Vivi winning two stakes at Woodine. That filly just sold for $480,000 as part of the Conquest Stables dispersal at the Keeneland November sale, and she will be pointed to a 3-year-old campaign for new owner Adena Springs.

“Court Vision offers a rare opportunity for breeders in Louisiana and around the region to tap into world-class bloodlines with one of the most impressive race records you will find for a miler,” said David Tillson, who represents the ownership group. “We think he’s the complete package and one of those stallions you come across and feel like you really need to breed a mare to him. He’s already proven himself as a sire, and with him being closely related to A.P. Indy and Summer Squall we think his future is exceptionally bright.”

Some of Court Vision’s other stakes horses include stakes winner Crumlin Spirit, an earner of $228,337; and Hammers Vision, who placed in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and has banked $192,324.


VINTON, La. – Delta Downs’ richest race day of the year will take place on Saturday when the track hosts the 14TH running of the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (Gr. III) for 2-year-olds competing at 1-1/16 miles. There is a special early post time on Jackpot Day of 1:45 p.m. Central Time.


As part of the special 11-race Jackpot Day program worth total purse money of more than $2.3 million, Delta Downs is offering a guaranteed $200,000 Jackpot Day Pick 4 wager the features the nation’s lowest take out rate of just 12%. The Jackpot Day Pick 4 will take place on races 4 – 7 and is a .50-cent minimum wager. Complete past performances for the Pick 4 can be found at


The Jackpot Day Pick 4 sequence of races is listed below along with scheduled post times.


Race 4             $250,000 Delta Mile                                                   Post Time 3:13 PM CT

Race 5             $75,000 Sam’s Town                                                 Post Time 3:43 PM CT

Race 6             $400,000 Delta Downs Princess (Gr. III)                Post Time 4:15 PM CT

Race 7             $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (Gr. III)              Post Time 4:45 PM CT


The Jackpot Day Pick 4 begins with the $250,000 Delta Mile for 3-year-olds and up featuring the 2013 winner of the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot, Rise Up. The second leg will be the $75,000 Sam’s Town for 3-year-olds and upward competing at seven furlongs. The third leg is the $400,000 Delta Downs Princess (Gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies, going one mile and the final leg will be the featured $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (Gr. III) for 2-year-olds traveling 1 1/16 miles.


The 5-2 morning line favorite for the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot is Gunnevera, who will break from post position six for trainer Antonio Sano. Nationally renowned jockey Javier Castellano will get the mount. Gunnevera won the Saratoga Special (Gr. II) in August before finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Futurity (Gr. I)  at Keeneland in his last start.


During the first 13 editions of the Jackpot Day Pick 4 there have been some monster payoffs. In 2006, when Birdbirdistheword won, it produced a staggering return of $22,225.80 for a $2 winning ticket, the largest in Jackpot history.


Live television coverage of the entire Delta Downs Jackpot Day program, including the Pick 4, can be seen on TVG nationally. The $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot race will also be featured live as ‘The Race of the Week’ on Sirius XM Radio Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. CST. Fans can find the race on Sirius XM channel 93 The Rush between 3-5 p.m. CT.


Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

Benoit Invests in Top Keeneland Mares to Breed in Louisiana

Excerpted from reports


Evelyn Benoit is not your typical horse breeder.

Most buyers of a top-class, $850,000 Thoroughbred mare at public auction would plan a mating for the following breeding season to one of North America’s more fashionable stallions.

Not Benoit.

At the Nov. 11 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Grovendale’s James Keogh won a bidding war to acquire the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed mare Moment of Majesty for $850,000 from Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency’s consignment.

The 9-year-old daughter of Saint Liam was purchased in the name of Benoit’s Star Guitar Inc., named after the Louisiana breeder’s top homebred Star Guitar.

Keogh said Benoit bought the mare specifically to breed to Star Guitar, who stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $4,000—a far cry from the $100,000 fee for Curlin, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm stallion to whom Moment of Majesty was bred this year.

A day later, Benoit struck for another high-priced mare to breed to her stallion Star Guitar, going to $550,000 for the durable runner Five Star Momma during the fifth session of Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale.

Sold in foal to top WinStar Farm stallion Tiznow, Five Star Momma topped the Nov. 12 session, in which the sale enters a new realm, beginning Book 3 after the best lots in the auction were offered in Books 1 and 2.

Keogh said Benoit’s decision to breed such an expensive mares to Star Guitar reflects her desire to give the stallion the best opportunity to succeed.

“It’s not about the money with her. It’s about the horses,” Keogh, part of Benoit’s team of advisers, said of the disparity between the mare’s purchase price and the stallion to whom she will be bred. “It’s family to her. She loves (Star Guitar) so much. He means the world to her.”

Racing for Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable, Star Guitar won 24 of his 30 starts, including 22 stakes, and retired as the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner of over $1.7 million. In his only graded stakes placing and rare venture outside Louisiana, Star Guitar finished third in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.

Represented by 36 juveniles of 2016, Star Guitar has had two winners from six starters to date, and Keogh said Benoit is getting ready to send out several of her promising homebreds trained by Al Stall Jr.

Keogh said the breeder has supported Star Guitar since he entered stud, sending some 15 of her 22 broodmares to the stallion annually.

“He’s a beautiful-looking horse. He’s show-hunter pretty,” Keogh said. “He’s a fabulous-moving horse. He wouldn’t break eggs, he’s so light on his feet.”

With his breeding and superb running ability, Star Guitar likely could have been gone to a farm outside Louisiana, but keeping him in the Bayou State fit with Benoit’s support of the state breeding program. Star Guitar’s fee will remain at $4,000 for 2017.

“It’s everything to her to support Louisiana’s breeders’ program,” Keogh said. “She had several offers to stand him in Kentucky, but she wouldn’t consider it because she wants to support Louisiana racing and breeding. She is passionate about racing. She watches racing three hours a day.”