JOCKEY TIM THORNTON GUIDES GROUND SAVING TRIP WITH ALLEN LANDRY CHARGE
OPELOUSAS, LA –A July 4th weekend crowd was treated to an exciting finish in the $60,000 Opelousas Stakes Friday night, as Net a Bear picked up the victory under jockey Tim Thornton. The Allen Landry runner turned the tables on a couple of rivals in the turf stakes for older fillies and mares.
Champagne Affair took the early initiative after breaking sharply from her inside post position, tracked intently by Raging Gold Digger and a three-wide Snowball. The compact field of five traveled in close attendance with Net a Bear and Offspring just behind the trio through moderate fractions of an opening half-mile split of 49.08 seconds. The field remained closely bunched as they moved to the top of the lane, with six furlongs traveled in 1:13.42, as Champagne Affair held onto a slim lead, while Raging Gold Digger and Snowball both began to tire.
Net a Bear waited patiently under a ground-saving trip, while Offspring was moved to the middle of the track for her run. Finding a seam between Champagne Affair and the rail, Net a Bear accelerated quickly to burst through and charge to victory, pulling away late to win by 1-3/4 lengths. Offspring was able to nab Champagne Affair late for the runner-up position, by a ½-length. Net a Bear, who runs for the partnership of Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro, finished in a time of 1:37.51 completed over a firm course, at the distance of about one-mile.
The winner’s share of $36,000 increased the lifetime bankroll of Net a Bear to $322,070. The victory is the sixth win of her 25-race career.
The 5-year-old mare was bred in Louisiana by Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll. The bay mare is by Awesome Bet, out of the Eddington mare Edacious Reality.
Sent off as the second wagering choice at 8-5, Net a Bear returned $5.20 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show. Offspring, favored at 6-5, paid $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show. Champagne Affair returned $4.20 to show.
Dixie Poker Ace winning the 1991 Barksdale Stakes at Louisiana Downs.
Two time Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion Dixie Poker Ace was humanely euthanized on Monday, September 16 at Lora Pitre’s Peach Lane Farms in Opelousas. He was 32.
The bay gelded son of Patriotically, out of the Poker mare Hot Stripper, started 86 times in a race career that ran from ages two to nine with a record of 27-17-15. At one time, Dixie Poker Ace was the leading Louisiana Bred money earner. His lifetime earnings of $850,126 continue to keep him among the top all-time Louisiana bred runners, currently ranking him 14th.
He won a remarkble 18 stakes races including three consecutive runnings of the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes (1991-93) and placed in an additional 21 stakes including a third place finish in the 1994 G3 Ark-La-Tex Handicap. The same year, he set a new course record at Fair Grounds running the approximate 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.00. In 2001, Fair Grounds initiated the Dixie Poker Ace Handicap in his honor.
In 1991 and 1992, he was voted Accredited Louisiana Bred Champion 4 Year Old & Upwards Male by the membership of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
By Patriotically, a half brother to multiple graded placed stakes winner Northerly, Dixie Poker Ace was bred in Louisiana by venerable horseman, the late John Franks.
Since his May 1996 retirement, Dixie Poker Ace lived a long and happy life turned out in the pastures of Peach Lane Farms where he was a beloved fixture. “It was a honor and privilege to be his caretaker for the 22 plus years he resided at my farm,” says Pitre. “It’s like losing a member of my family.”
Breeders Cup placed multiple stakes winner Country Day is moving to Lora Pitre’s Peach Lane Farms in Opelousas for the 2019 breeding season.
Country Day captured three stakes and placed in five others. He finished second in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. II) in which he was beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Country Day, who raced at nine tracks, won on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces. He recorded a 105 Beyer speed figure when scoring by six lengths at Fair Grounds at 3 and a 102 when winning the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park the following year. Country Day was retired with a record of 7-4-2 from 19 starts and earnings of $503,829.
The son of Speightstown out of the graded stakes winning Mt. Livermore mare Hidden Assets entered stud in 2013 at Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm near Lexington for Bertram, Elaine, and Richard Klein who campaigned him during his racing career. Country Day is a half brother to multiple stakes winners Due Date and Good Deed and traces back in female family to Calumet Farm’s blue hen Blue Delight, whose other descendants include major winner and sire Alydar.
With his third crop being two-year-olds of 2018, Country Day already has a graded stakes winner, Will Call to his credit. Will Call, from Country Day’s first crop, won the 2018 G3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint S. at Churchill Downs and currently has a record of 11-6-1-1 with $271,837 in earnings. Additionally, from his second crop, Sir Brogan is a stakes placed winner.
“Mr. Klein and I have had a business relationship for several years. He’s a class act and a pleasure to work with. I am very excited about this new Country Day partnership and appreciate his continued support of the Louisiana Bred Program,” says Pitre.
Country Day is standing for a 2019 fee of $2,000 live foal payable when foal stands and nurses for owners Richard Klein and Lora Pitre. Special consideration will be given to stakes mares.