– NONEYA UPSETS FREE LIKE A GIRL TO WIN THE $100,000 MAGNOLIA STAKES –
VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs opened the 2023-24 Thoroughbred race season on Friday night with a nine-race program that featured a pair of $100,000 stakes races. Fans were treated to the Gold Cup and the Magnolia Stakes. Both events were for Louisiana-bred runners going seven furlongs. The Magnolia featured fillies and mares.
The Gold Cup featured heavily favored Touchuponastar, who was gunning for third win in as many starts at Delta Downs. His last appearance in Vinton resulted in a rousing victory in the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship back in February.
Touchuponastar did not disappoint by coming through with a 5 ½-length victory and it could have been even more. After breaking sharply under jockey Tim Thornton, the eventual winner cruised to an easy lead and carved out fractional times of 23.75 seconds for the opening quarter mile and 47.61 for the half-mile. As the field of eight made the turn for home Thornton shook the reins and his mount responded, going on to a dominant win over Big Chopper while Autumns Strong Man finished another 3-3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.
The final time for Touchuponastar, who is trained by Jeff Delhomme, was 1:24.64. Each race on the program was contest over a fast track and with near perfect weather conditions.
Touchuponastar has now won eight of 11 career starts and has banked a total of $468,100 for his owner, Set-Hut LLC (Jake Delhomme). His win in the Gold Cup was worth $60,000.
Bred in Louisiana by Coteau Grove Farms, Touchuponastar is a 4-year-old bay gelding by Star Guitar, out of the Quiet American mare Touch Magic.
Leaving the starting gate at odds of 1-5, Touchuponastar paid $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. Big Chopper returned $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Longshot Autumns Strong Man was worth $11 to show.
All eyes were on Free Like a Girl in the $100,000 Magnolia Stakes as the 4-year-old filly was attempting to the race for the second year in a row and become a millionaire at the same time. But it wasn’t to be as Noneya pulled the upset under jockey Vicente Del Cid, who was riding for owner/trainer Ronnie Ward. Free Like a Girl made a late bid but came up short finishing third behind the winner and Norah G who wound up second.
As the seven-furlong race for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares began it was Norah G who showed early speed by setting fractional times of 23.71 seconds for the quarter mile and 48.21 for the half. Meanwhile, Noneya sat patiently off the leader while stalking the pace before digging in for a sustained rally turning for home.
At the wire Noneya was 2-1/4 lengths clear of Norah G while Free Like a girl was another ¾ of a length behind in third. The winner covered the distance in 1:25.97.
Noneya has now won six-of-18 career starts. Her $60,000 winner’s share in the Magnolia raised her lifetime bankroll to $202,340.
Bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock & Hume Warnall, Noneya is a 5-year-old mare by Palace, out of the Quiet American mare American Placed.
Dispatched at odds of 6-1, Noneya paid $15 to win, $5.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Norah G was worth $4.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Free Like a Girl, who went off heavily favored at even money, returned $2.10 to show.
For more information about racing at Delta Downs this season, including a detailed schedule and stakes dates, visit the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also get information throughout the season with our social media accounts. The Facebook page is found at ‘Delta Downs Racing’, and the track’s Twitter (X) handle is @deltaracing.