Pago Hop Stakes
Fair Grounds, December 31, 2016
Abt 1 Mile, Turf, Purse $75,000
BELIEVE IN BERTIE
Langfuhr-Saint Bertie, by Street Cry (IRE)
Breeder: Richard Klein & Bertram Klein (LA)
Owner: Richard and Bertram Klein
Trainer: Brad H. Cox; Jockey: S. Bridgmohan
Twirling Candy-Untamed Beauty, by Rahy
Breeder: Center Hills Farm & Randy Blair (OK)
Owner: Jordan V. Wycoff
Trainer: Michael J Maker; Jockey: F. Geroux
E Dubai-Hanna’s Harmony, by Storming Fever
Breeder: David A. Ross (KY)
Owner: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch
Trainer: Joe Sharp; Jockey: G. Saez
1:34.22, Track: firm, Margins: 7 3/4, no, 3 1/2
Richard Klein and Bertram Klein’s Believe in Bertie backed up her morning-line favoritism and popped the cork on her connections’ New Year’s Eve celebration with a track record-setting performance in the 33rd running of the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan for current meet-leading trainer Brad Cox, the 3-year-old daughter of Langfuhr was dominant throughout, leading through fractions of 24.01, 47.27 and 1:10.85 for six furlongs. With 8½ lengths to spare and her pilot motionless in the stretch, she maintained powerfully through a final quarter-mile in 23.37 to win the about one-mile event on the Stall-Wilson turf course by 7¾ lengths in 1:34.22, breaking the record of 1:34.51 set by 6-year-old campaigner Paroled in 2015.
A Louisiana-bred, Believe in Bertie ($5, $3.40 and $2.80) won for the fourth time in nine starts and annexed her second career stakes event and first in open company, earning a state-bred bonus-inflated $62,640 to increase her career bankroll to $271,522. She is the first foal out of unraced Street Cry (IRE) mare Saint Bertie and a granddaughter of four-time graded stakes-winning mare Allamerican Bertie, runner-up by less than a length in 2002’s Grade I Alabama Stakes.
“She’s got such a high cruising speed, so I just wanted to stay out of her way and be a good passenger,” Bridgmohan said. “She was doing it so easily. I never even had to pull the stick on her.”
“She went out fast and kept going fast. She came home 11 and change and looked great,” Cox added. “She’s the kind who likes to get into a rhythm and carry her speed and she’s super-talented; as talented as any horse in the barn.”
Chasing throughout and holding on for second was Jordan V. Wycoff’s Mike Maker-trained two-time stakes winner Gianna’s Dream ($4.20 and $4) under the meet’s current leading rider, Florent Geroux. A nose behind her was Wayne R. Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Joe Sharp-trained longshotFrozen Hannah ($9.80 to show) under Gabriel Saez.
“I had a good trip and was trying to get to the winner, but we were second-best today,” Geroux said. “The winner ran a huge race.”
Local stakes winner Princess Erindelle rallied from last to fourth, followed by Inconclusive, Most Beautiful(GB), Always Right, Ready for Chianti, Nobody’s Fault, La Peregrina, Motown Lady and School Board Prez to complete the order of finish.