Cox, Beschizza, Grady Secure Titles At Fair Grounds Meet

By Ryan Martin

For the third year in a row trainer Brad Cox is the winningest trainer at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Cox, 39, won a total of 53 races this season which replicated last year’s amount of trips to the winner’s circle for the Louisville, Ky. native. For the third straight year, Cox beat out trainer Joe Sharp who won 49 races this meet. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen was the third leading conditioner with 30 wins.

In addition to being the overall leading trainer, Cox was also the leading trainer in term of stakes wins having won six stakes races. He scored stakes caliber triumphs with Beau Recall (Ire.) (Blushing K.D. Stakes and New Orleans Ladies Stakes), Contributing (Pan Zareta Stakes), Harlan Punch (Louisiana Stakes), and Marquee Prince (Lloyd “Captain” Maestri Memorial Stakes and Black Gold Stakes).

“It’s a great battle between me and Joe (Sharp),” Cox said. “I think we make each other better. It’s been a very exciting meet. There are great purses and very competitive racing with the option of the turf or the dirt. It’s a great track to train on with great weather. Tis a great place to winter. I want to thank my help at New York, Fair Grounds Oaklawn. We always have a set up at Louisiana Downs or Evangeline Downs. It’s worked out rally well. All the assistants have done a great job of having the horses ready to run on race day.”

While Cox scored a training title for the third straight year, jockey Adam Beschizza was the meet’s leading rider for the first time in only his second full year of riding at Fair Grounds. Beschizza, 26, won 82 races at the New Orleans oval finishing six wins ahead of James Graham who won 76 was unable to make a race of it early on Closing Day when took off his remaining mounts due to a sickness. Florent Geroux finished third in the standings with 65 wins. A native of Great Britain, Beschizza was last year’s second leading rider finishing one win behind Shaun Bridgmohan.

Four of Beschizza’s wins were at stakes level when he guided Midnight Fantasy to dual wins in the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes as well as the fillies’ division of the Louisiana Futurity. He also rode In the Navy to a win in the Mr. Sulu Overnight Stakes and Pretty Lady in the Pago Hop Stakes.

“I’m overwhelmed, this last week I was holding my breath a little bit,” Beschizza said. “James had been a champion himself in the past. He’s a great competitor and he’s kept me honest right until the line. He can play with us young guns as well. There are a lot of people to thank and none of this would be possible without their help. My agent Liz Morris, she’s done a great job keeping myself in line and intact. A lot of credit goes to her. I really appreciate her as a person, we’ve became really close since I came to America.”

Many of Beschizza’s victories during the Fair Grounds meet came when riding horses for trainer Joe Sharp.

“A lot of thanks also goes to Joe Sharp,” Beschizza said “He’s just been the life and soul of my career since I started in America. He’s a huge supporter of mine, he believes in me and that goes a long way and a huge talent. I thank him very much.”

While Beschizza was the winningest jockey overall, jockey Corey Lanerie won more stakes than any other rider at Fair Grounds when scoring at said caliber a total of six times. Lanerie’s stakes wins took place aboard Buggin Out (Magic City Classic), Underpressure (Louisiana Champions Day Classic and Dixie Poker Ace Stakes), Givemeaminit (Louisiana Champions Day Sprint), Classy John (Louisiana Futurity – colts division) and Bell’s the One (Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe Memorial Stakes).

Owner Brad Grady earned yet another Fair Grounds title for leading owner during the meet with 17 wins over Maggi Moss’ 13. Grady and Moss tied for leading owner last season when both won 12 races.

Highlights of the memorable 2018-19 racing season at Fair Grounds include dual graded stakes wins from Gary Barber’s War of Will who was unanimously named Horse of the Meet as the only horse all season long to win multiple graded stakes races at the New Orleans oval. The talented 3-year-old son of War Front was conditioned by Mark Casse whose assistant David Carroll oversees his string of horses at Fair Grounds. He won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Grade II Risen Star Stakes and earned 60 points on the Road To The Kentucky Derby in doing so.

Other notable moments include Allied Racing’s By My Standards taking the 106th Grade II Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on the penultimate day of the meet for trainer Bret Calhoun punching his ticket to the Grade I $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 4 having earned 100 qualifying points towards the First Saturday in May. Trainer Larry Jones won his fourth Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks Presented by Twinspires.com with Street Band, who earned 100 points towards the Grade I $1.5 million Kentucky Oaks. Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Bricks and Mortar took an exciting edition of the Grade II Muniz Memorial Handicap when battling down a stubborn longshot in Markitoff to win by a slim margin. Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress opened many eyes when running away to victory in the Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb 16 in the race before War of Will’s triumph in the Risen Star.

Other than War of Will, nine other horses won multiple stakes events this meet. Marquee Prince (Blushing K.D. Stakes and New Orleans Ladies Stakes), Bell’s the One (Letellier Memorial Stakes and Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe Memorial Stakes) and Beau Recall (Lloyd “Captain” Maestri Memorial Stakes and Black Gold Stakes) successfully defeated open company while Midnight Fantasy (Louisiana Champions Day Lassie and Louisiana Futurity – fillies division), Classy John (Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile and Louisiana Futurity – colts division), Remember Daisy(Tom Benson Memorial Overnight Stakes and Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf Stakes), Ours to Run (Happy Ticket Stakes and Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint) and Underpressure (Louisiana Champions Day Classic and Dixie Poker Ace) won multiple times against their Louisiana-bred counterpart in state-bred stakes. Wynn Time was the only horse this meet to win multiple stakes events when he took the Thanksgiving Handicap, Bonapaw Stakes and Duncan F. Kenner Stakes.

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Cox, Bridgmohan Secure Titles While Maggi Moss and Brad Grady Tie For Winningest Owner; Synchrony Named Horse Of The Meet

 

Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan added another Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots championship title to their accomplished resumes for the 2017-18 Winter Meet while owners Maggi Moss and Brad Grady tied for winningest owner with 12 victories apiece.

Moss won her first title at the Fair Grounds since the Winter Meet in 2014-15, where she scored 15 victories. It was a first title for owner Brad Grady, whose meet was highlighted by stakes victories with Triple Chelsea in the Jan 5 Pan Zareta Stakes and the March 10 Nelson J. Menard Memorial Overnight Stakes. Triple Chelsea was trained by Joe Sharp and ridden by jockey Adam Beschizza, who both finished second in their respective divisions.

“It means something to me,” Grady said of his title win. “It’s a cherry on the top.  A lot of hard work goes into this, for (trainer) Joe (Sharp) especially. (Jockey) Adam (Beschizza) is a good kid, he came over (from England) two years back and we knew he could really ride. When he came for this meet and Joe asked me if I would support him and I said ‘Absolutely’.”

It was a second consecutive winningest meet for trainer Brad Cox who exited the Winter Meet with 54 trips to the winner’s circle at a 30% win rate. The highlight for Cox’s meet came when Monomoy Girl (one of the favorites for the Gr. I $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks) took the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes on February 17. Other strakes events won by Cox trainees include the December 30 Woodchopper Stakes which was won by Mr. Misunderstood. He took two homebred stakes events with Inveniam Viam who found the winner’s circle twice throughout the meet in the Si Cima Stakes on November 18 and the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes. Other Louisiana-bred stakes winners for Cox this meet were Dontmesswithjoanne, winner of the Red Camelia on March 17 and Extra Credit who won the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes on December 9.

In a race that ended up going right down to the wire, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan scored his first title since taking the 2009-10 Winter Meet. Bridgmohan scored 66 victories on the meet, only one up on newcomer Adam Beschizza. Defending leading rider Florent Geroux was taking aim at his third straight leading Fair Grounds meet, but finished third with 63 victories.

“It was a very fun meet,” Bridgmohan said. “Obviously a lot of credit goes out to my agent (Anthony Martin), he puts me on the right horses. I’ve ridden for some good horsemen and won some nice races this meet. Hard work and dedication came together. It was a competitive jocks room, everyone was in the mix and it goes to show you how competitive it was. It wasn’t a runaway win.”

Stakes victories from Bridgmohan include the Allen “Black Cat” Memorial Overnight Stakes, where he guided Kabella to victory. Earlier in the meet, he teamed up with winning trainer Brad Cox with Extra Credit in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf as well as Inveniam Viam in the Si Cima Stakes on November 18 and the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes on December 9.

The series of prep races on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby and Oaks proved themselves to be quite competitive this Winter Meet with different horses showing up to the winner’s circle after each race. Invaders swept the Kentucky Derby prep races with Southern California shipper Instilled Regard taking the Gr. III Lecomte Stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The Gr. II Risen Star Stakes was won by Bravazo, who shipped from Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s base at Oaklawn Park. In the final local prep for the Derby, Noble Indy gave trainer Todd Pletcher his fourth win in the Gr. II Louisiana Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com. Meanwhile, the Road To The Kentucky Oaks at the Fair Grounds kicked off with an upset victory from Stronger Than Ever in the Silverbulletday Stakes for trainer Kenny McPeek. In the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes, Monomoy Girl won her 3-year-old debut for leading trainer Brad Cox while Chocolate Martini took the Gr. II TwinSpires Fair Grounds Oaks for New Orleans native and trainer Tom Amoss.

Pin Oak Stable’s Synchrony was voted Horse of the Winter Meet by Fair Grounds media and racing officials as the only horse to score multiple graded stakes victories this meet. Trained by Mike Stidham, the son of Tapit won the Gr. III Fair Grounds Handicap and Gr. II Muniz Memorial Stakes, both events were contested over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.

“We are thrilled to have completed another successful live Thoroughbred meet here at Fair Grounds,” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots President Doug Shipley. “Once again, we’ve had a competitive jockey group, as well as top quality Thoroughbreds representing some of the most successful horsemen from around the country. That coupled with the fact that we are about to open two new state of the art off-track-wagering facilities in the New Orleans metropolitan area that will continue to bolster our purses for many years to come is equally as exciting. We could not have done this well without the help of our team members who do a great job putting on a spectacular show throughout the meet as well as our loyal guests who show excellent support for the track. This was an exciting meet for everyone affiliated with the Fair Grounds and we look forward to continuing our successful momentum throughout the year.”

Live Thoroughbred action will resume in November.

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