Having already carved out his own niche as a local legend, Brittlyn Stable’s homebred Sunbean will aim to equal one of the state’s all-time greats when he makes his expected start in the Dec. 10 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Sunbean, winner of the 2013 and 2014 editions of the 1 1/8-miles Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes, looks to join Brittlyn Stable’s other legend, Star Guitar , as the only three-time victor of the $150,000 marquee event for state-breds. That the 6-year-old Brahms gelding is positioned to notch that feat is an achievement in itself, as he missed last year’s test with an injury that prevented him from racing for 385 days.
Since returning to training, the 15-time stakes winner and seven-time winner over the Fair Grounds dirt has won three stakes, including his last two starts. In his most recent outing Sunbean rallied to earn a half-length win in the Oct. 29 Gold Cup Stakes at Delta Downs, his third triumph in that particular contest.
“He’s doing really well and coming in ready to go,” trainer Ron Faucheux said. “He’s trained as well as he’s ever trained. His numbers and margin of victory aren’t as good as before the layoff, but I’m not sure if it’s that the competition is a little bit better than it used to be, which I think it is.”
The multi-talented Sunbean also captured the Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs and was cross-entered in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes as a ‘Plan B’ should weather become a factor this weekend.
“There was no downside of cross-entering, so I went ahead and did that,” Faucheux said “If it were to rain and come off the turf, a second option carrying less weight is good, but we are pointing to the Classic.”
Sunbean has won 16 of 26 career starts with $1,172,250 in earnings. The 9-5 morning-line favorite will break from post five in the six-horse Classic field.
Challenging Sunbean will be multiple stakes winners The Pickett Factorand Mobile Bay, who finished one-two in last year’s edition of the Classic. Mobile Bay and The Pickett Factor finished second and fifth, respectively, behind Sunbean in the Gold Cup Stakes. Mobile Bay annexed the Louisiana Legends Classic Stakes at Evangeline Downs July 2.
Eleven stakes races for Louisiana-breds worth $1.1 million will be run at Fair Grounds Saturday including the six-furlong, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint headlined by defending race winner Jockamo’s Song and 8-year-old warrior String King seeking a fourth title in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf.
Steve Landers Racing’s undefeated Illussion Artist will be making her stakes debut for trainer Brad Cox in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint at six furlongs. The daughter of Drosselmeyer has posted consecutive victories against open allowance company in Kentucky and will face Louisiana-breds for the first time under jockey Robby Albarado.
Nine 2-year-old colts and geldings were entered in the six-furlong, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, led by owner-trainer Dallas Stewart’s Saint’s Fan. The son of Tale of Ekati was a powerful victor against open maiden special weight company at Churchill Downs in early November and will face Louisiana-bred company for the first time under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.