Wagering, Purses Up in September

Purses rose significantly in September this year compared to September 21 while wagering on U.S. races saw a slight uptick, with a similar split showing for the third quarter of 2022 vs. 2021, according to the economic indicator statistics released by Equibase Wednesday.

Wagering totaled $936,206,774 in September, a 2.68% increase from the total of $911,734,704 in September 2021. This year’s number, however, was a 9.98% drop-off from the $1,040,000,472 wagered in September 2020. Wagering per race day was $2,317,344, a 7% increase from last September, but an 18.67% drop from the $2,849,316 posted in September 2020.

 

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Houston Ladies Classic Tops Sam Houston Stakes Schedule

Thoroughbred racing at Sam Houston Race Park returns Jan. 6, 2023, with several changes planned for its 43-day Thoroughbred meet.

The Thoroughbred meet will feature afternoon racing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1 p.m CT. Holiday Monday racing, also at 1 p.m., will take place on Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day.

Thoroughbred racing in Texas stopped being exported for simulcast this July at Lone Star Park when Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority oversight began over much of the country.

The Houston Racing Festival highlights the stakes schedule on Jan. 28. The 2023 edition will offer five stakes, anchored by the $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) and the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3T). The $100,000 Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile, $100,000 Bara Lass stakes, and $100,000 Groovy Stakes will be included on the undercard.

Frank Hopf, Sam Houston Race Park’s assistant general manager, looks forward to welcoming Houston horseplayers and new fans to the northwest Houston racetrack.

“The new schedule and start times present an opportunity to engage with our loyal simulcast guests and attract new fans with daytime racing,” said Hopf.  “Moving our stakes races and promotions to the afternoons will provide new opportunities for everyone.”

The 2023 Sam Houston stakes schedule can be viewed online.

Bart Lang will serve as director of racing for the 2023 live racing season, including the 25-day Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet from April 21-June 17.

OAKLAWN ADDS NINE STAKES RACES TO RECORD 2022-2023 SCHEDULE

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Thursday, July 28, 2022) – Although it doesn’t begin until Friday, December 9, the 2022-2023 Oaklawn racing season has already broken at least two records. The Hot Springs, AR, track will offer the greatest number of stakes races and the highest stakes purses in its history.

Nine races have been added to the stakes schedule for the 68-day season, bringing the total to 45. Total purses offered for the stakes program have increased by $1.45 million to an all-time high of $13.75 million. The overall purse distribution for the season is projected to exceed $50 million, yet another record.

The stakes schedule is once again highlighted by the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 1, along with three $1 million stakes races – the Rebel Stakes (G2) February 25, the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15, and the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 22.

This is the second consecutive season Oaklawn is opening in December. Oaklawn President Louis Cella said the expansion of the stakes program is made possible by the early start. “We were pleased with how December racing was received last year, by both racing fans and horsemen,” Cella said. “Now, we’re going to use our stakes schedule to build on that momentum.”

Three of the new Stakes races are scheduled for December, while the other six will take place during the final weeks of the season:

  • Ring the Bell Stakes ($150,000) – December 10
  • Renaissance Stakes ($150,000) – December 31
  • Year’s End Stakes ($150,000) – December 31
  • Matron Stakes ($250,000) – March 31
  • Hot Springs Stakes ($200,000) – April 1
  • Valley of the Vapors Stakes ($150,000) – April 22
  • Dig a Diamond Stakes ($150,000) – April 29
  • Lake Ouachita Stakes ($150,000) – May 5
  • Lake Hamilton Stakes ($150,000) – May 6

“One of the reasons Oaklawn has been successful for more than a century is because of where we are located,” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said. “Tourism is a major industry in our area, and Oaklawn is proud to be the state’s top tourism attraction. We wanted some stakes with names synonymous with Oaklawn’s hometown and the surrounding area.”

Oaklawn’s rich 3-year-old series, offering points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Derby (G1), begins January 1, with the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and continues with the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) January 28, and the Rebel Stakes (G2) February 25, before culminating with the April 1 Arkansas Derby (G1). The 3-year-old filly series offering points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) follows the same path as the males, starting January 28 with the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes, and continues with the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) February 25, and $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 1.

Other notable highlights of Oaklawn’s 2022-2023 stakes schedule are the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) February 18, $500,000 Essex Handicap (G3) and $200,000 Whitmore Stakes (G3) March 18, and the $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15.

The 2022-2023 season runs Friday, December 9 through Saturday, May 6, Kentucky Derby Day.

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn is one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the Arkansas Derby. The casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Come visit the Oaklawn hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and several dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

​2022 Belmont Park fall meet to be held at Aqueduct Racetrack

by Pat McKenna

 

Belmont at the Big A to offer 41 stakes worth $9.9 million in total purses

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that, due to the construction of vehicular and pedestrian tunnels designed to provide access to the Belmont Park infield, the 2022 Belmont Park fall meet will be held at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

The 28-day Belmont at the Big A fall meet will begin on Thursday, September 15 and run through Sunday, October 30. Headlined by four Grade 1 races and six “Win and You’re In” qualifiers to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Keeneland, Belmont at the Big A will feature 23 graded events among 41 stakes worth $9.9 million in total purses. Live racing will be conducted Thursday-Sunday.

The construction of tunnels for vehicular and pedestrian access is a major capital improvement project that will unlock the 45-acre infield at Belmont Park. In addition to providing access for fans and the surrounding community, the tunnels will serve as a conduit to the infield for commercial vehicles allowing NYRA to completely reconstruct the Belmont main track and its two turf courses. The tunnels will also provide NYRA with the opportunity to consider the installation of a synthetic track in the future. 

“This investment in the future of Belmont Park will transform our racing operations and pave the way for a broader re-imagining of the facility,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President & CEO. “The shift to Aqueduct this fall will minimize the overall impact on the racing schedule, and ensure continuity for the Belmont spring/summer meet and Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. We appreciate the patience of our horsemen and fans as we enter this period of transition at Belmont, and look forward to an exciting fall at the Big A.”

Construction on the tunnels will require the closure of the Belmont Park main track and turf courses at the conclusion of training hours on Sunday, August 7. NYRA expects main track and turf training to resume in April 2023. Construction on the racetracks will begin following the conclusion of the 2023 Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which will be held in its entirety at Belmont. 

Following a three-week closure for annual track maintenance, the Belmont Park training track will re-open on Monday, August 8 and remain open throughout tunnel and track construction. 

As part of the same round of capital improvement projects, NYRA will install a synthetic surface on the ¼ mile Belmont Park Pony Track. Expected to be complete in September, the Tapeta Footings track will provide a new all-weather training option and yield information and data on the performance of a synthetic surface in the weather conditions at Belmont. 

The Oklahoma Training track will operate as normal, with scheduled turf training available throughout the fall. 

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) is responsible for advancing and protecting the interests of thoroughbred owners and trainers at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. In his role as NYTHA President, Joe Appelbaum expressed support for the planned renovations and improvements to Belmont.

“NYTHA membership recognize the importance of modernizing Belmont Park and look forward to competing at a world-class thoroughbred racing venue,” said Appelbaum. “We will continue to work closely with NYRA to reduce any burdens on horsemen created by the temporary closure of the main track at Belmont.”

Belmont at the Big A will offer significant purse increases with a particular focus on adding value to conditions impacting the broadest group of owners and trainers. Accordingly, open allowance races will be run for six-figure purses while all claiming categories, New York-bred, and maiden races will enjoy purse enhancements. 

Beyond the increases to the purse schedule, NYRA will introduce a new bonus program to further reward horsemen for competing at the fall meet. The Belmont at the Big A bonus will pay $500 to the owner and $500 to the trainer of any horse finishing outside of the top three in his/her first fall start provided the most recent start was during the 2022 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course. Stakes races at Aqueduct do not qualify for the Belmont at the Big A bonus. 

The Belmont at the Big A stakes action will kick off on Saturday, September 17, with the closing legs of the Caesars Turf Triple Series: the Grade 3, $1 million Caesars Jockey Club Derby for 3-year-olds going 1 1/2 miles on the turf and the Grade 3, $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks for sophomore fillies. The Grade 3, $150,000 Pebbles at one-mile on turf for sophomore fillies will then be contested on Sunday, September 18. 

The first New York-bred stakes of the meet will be the $125,000 Joseph A. Gimma on Friday, September 23, leading into a weekend that includes the Grade 3, $175,000 Athenia for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up competing at 1 1/8 miles on the turf on Saturday, September 24. The Saturday card will also include the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole, a nine-furlong turf test for state-breds 3-years-old and up. The following day will see fillies and mares 3-and-up sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom, with the undercard rounded out by the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard for New York-bred juveniles going seven furlongs. 

The weekend of October 1-2 will be comprised of seven graded stakes with a pair of Grade 1s highlighting the Saturday card in the $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up going nine furlongs and the $500,000 Champagne for 2-year-olds running one mile. The Champagne affords the winner a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The October 2 card will also include the Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo for fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; along with the Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on the turf. 

Sunday, October 2 will be headlined by the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette for 2-year-old fillies at one mile with a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies up for grabs. The October 2 card will include the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles on the turf, offering a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf; and the Grade 3, $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya at 1 3/8 miles for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

Top quality racing will continue on Saturday, October 8 with the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/2-miles, along with the Grade 2, $250,000 Vosburgh, a seven-furlong sprint [previously run at six furlongs] for 3-year-olds and up, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Rounding out the October 8 stakes action will be the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron at six furlongs on turf for juvenile fillies.

October 9 will offer the fall meet’s final Breeders’ Cup qualifier with the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the turf providing a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Juvenile Turf Sprint. Also on tap that day will be the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame at nine furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

On Saturday, October 29, the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and up will offer the top-four finishers a free nomination and starting fee in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. The October 29 card will include the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs [previously run at seven furlongs] on the main track. 

Additional graded races include the Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point [October 15], Grade 2, $300,000 Hill Prince [October 22], and the Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel [October 22].

Belmont at the Big A will close on Sunday, October 30 with the annual Empire Showcase Day, which will include eight stakes for New York-breds worth $1.6 million in total purse money. The lucrative card is highlighted by the $250,000 Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles, and its counterpart the $250,000 Empire Distaff at nine furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. Both the Empire Classic and Empire Distaff were previously run at 1 1/16-miles. Empire Showcase Day will also include four $200,000 stakes in the Sleepy Hollow, Maid of the Mist, Mohawk and Ticonderoga, along with a pair of $150,000 stakes in the Iroquois and Hudson.

For the complete Belmont at the Big A stakes schedule, visit https://bit.ly/3vmPaJP.

EVANGELINE DOWNS SET TO KICK OFF 2022 THOROUGHBRED SEASON ON APRIL 6

THE 84-DAY SEASON WILL RUN THROUGH AUGUST 27

 

 

OPELOUSAS, LA –The 2022 Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs will begin on Wednesday, April 6.  The meet will consist of 84 days of racing, running on a Wednesday through Saturday weekly schedule and concluding on August 27.  First post each night will be at the new time of 5:30pm Central time.

 

The stakes calendar features a couple of new additions with the Acadiana and Lafayette Stakes.  Both of these races were previously contested under state-bred conditions, but are now open stakes events.  The Acadiana, for 3-year-old fillies, will be run on Friday, April 15, with the Lafayette, for 3-year-olds, the following night.  The May stakes action features the EVD Distaff, for 4-year-old and up Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, on May 6 and the EVD Classic, for Louisiana-bred 4-year-olds and up, on May 7.

 

The featured night of the Thoroughbred racing season will take place on Saturday, June 4 with the Louisiana Legends Night.  The exciting card will include six stakes races for horses bred in the Bayou State, each with a purse of $75,000.  A new star emerged last year as Cilla took the Legends Mademoiselle Stakes and later scored a graded stakes win in the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga in September.

 

July will see the renewals of the Opelousas and John Henry Stakes turf races.  The Opelousas, on Friday July 1, is for 3-year-old and up fillies and mares.  The John Henry, to be run on Saturday, July 2, is for 3-year-olds and up.

 

The final month of the racing season will include a couple of stakes weekends.  The Friday, August 5 card will include the Spotted Horse, a stakes for 3-year-old and up fillies and mares.  The Evangeline Mile, for 3-year-olds and up, will be contested Saturday, August 6.  Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds will take center stage on closing weekend with the D.S “Shine” Young Futurities.  The fillies division will be run on Friday, August 26, with the colts and geldings division on the final night of the meet Saturday, August 27.

 

Tim Thornton, a three-time riding champion at Evangeline Downs, will be the top returning rider in 2022.  Thornton, who captured his fourth consecutive riding title at Delta Downs over the winter, finished second in the standings last season with 100 wins.  Gerard Melancon eclipsed the 5,000 career wins mark last summer and returns looking to add to his stellar career numbers.  Apprentice Vincente Del-Cid will be a new face in the jockey colony this season.  Joe Stokes, Pedro Cotto, Jr., Devin Magnon, Kevin Smith and Aubrie Green are among some of the riders looking to have a solid meet.

 

Eduardo Ramirez will be back to defend his 2021 leading trainer title and will face a stiff challenge from the Karl Broberg barn.  The former Broberg assistant notched 44 wins and a 31% winning clip to unseat the perennial leader last year.  Other regulars returning with stables to the Opelousas oval include Keith Bourgeois, Sam David, Sam Breaux, Rylee Grudzien, Ron Faucheux and Allen Landry.  Ricky Courville, trainer of Kentucky Derby hopeful Un Ojo, will also return with a stable for the 2022 season.

 

For more information on Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com.  Evangeline Downs information can also be found on Twitter @EVDracing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.

 

Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing, the new Fan Duel sportsbook and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.

Oaklawn Increases Purses

Oaklawn will offer across-the-board purse increases beginning  Mar. 11. Claiming and starter allowance races will receive a $4,000 bump, with maiden special weights and allowances up by $6,000. The minimum purse is now set at $29,000 with maiden special weights at $90,000 and allowances at $106,000.

With the past three weeks having seen an increase in both on and off track wagering, Oaklawn has added an additional day to its schedule on Apr. 7. The live meet will run through May 8.

 

STALL APPLICATIONS FOR 2022 EVANGELINE DOWNS THOROUGHBRED SEASON DUE BY FEBRUARY 15

THE 84-DAY SEASON BEGINS ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6

 

 

OPELOUSAS, LA –The 2022 Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs will begin on Wednesday, April 6.  The meet will consist of 84 days of racing, running on a Wednesday through Saturday weekly schedule and concluding on August 27.  First post each night is scheduled for 5:50pm Central time.

 

Stall applications are due by Tuesday, February 15.  Horsemen interested in an application can visit the track website at www.evdracing.com and click on the Horsemen’s Info tab.  The racing office can be contacted directly at 337-594-3000.

 

The stakes calendar features a couple of new additions with the Acadiana and Lafayette Stakes.  The Acadiana, for 3-year-old fillies, will be run on Friday, April 15, with the Lafayette, for 3-year-olds, the following night.  The May stakes action features the EVD Distaff, for 4-year-old and up Louisiana-bred filly and mares, on May 6 and the EVD Classic, for Louisiana-bred 4-year-olds and up, on May 7.

 

The featured night of the Thoroughbred racing season is on Saturday, June 4 with the Louisiana Legends stakes program.  Six stakes races for Louisiana-bred runners, each with a purse of $75,000, will highlight the card.  Legends Mademoiselle winner Cilla was the star of the 2021 night with her big victory, and subsequent efforts in open stakes company last summer.

 

July will see the renewals of the Opelousas and John Henry Stakes turf races.  The Opelousas, on Friday July 1, is for 3-year-old and up filly and mares.  The John Henry, to be run on Saturday, July 2, is for 3-year-olds and up.

 

The final month of the racing season will have a couple of stakes weekends.  The Friday, August 5 card will include the Spotted Horse, a stakes for 3-year-old and up filly and mares.  The Evangeline Mile, for 3-year-olds and up, will be contested Saturday, August 6.  Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds will take center stage on closing weekend with the D.S “Shine” Young Futurities.  The filly division will be run on Friday, August 26, with the colts and geldings division on the final night of the meet, August 27.

 

For more information on Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com.  Evangeline Downs information can also be found on Twitter @EVDracing and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.

 

Oaklawn Park Cancels Racing Through Weekend

Due to the effects of a winter storm hitting Arkansas, Oaklawn Park canceled racing Feb. 4-6. The lost race dates will be replaced with racing added March 17, 24, and 31, a series of Thursdays.

“It’s never an easy decision to cancel live racing, but it’s the right decision for the safety of our horses and our fans traveling this weekend,” Oaklawn Park general manager Wayne Smith said. “We’re looking forward to an outstanding weekend Feb. 11-13 featuring two graded stakes and the Voices of Rock concert in the Oaklawn Event Center next Saturday. We appreciate the cooperation from the horsemen and our commission in rescheduling the races.”

In addition, the $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), originally scheduled for Saturday, will now be run Feb. 12. The Bayakoa, a 1 1/16-mile race for older fillies and mares, will now be the supporting feature on a card highlighted by the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses at the same distance.

Extreme Cold Forces Oaklawn To Cancel Racing, Training On Friday

Due to extreme cold temperatures in the region, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. will cancel training and racing on Friday, Jan. 21.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures as low as 16 degrees (F) on Thursday night, with a high of just 35 on Friday. Wind chills on Friday could be as low as 7.

According to the track’s Twitter feed, the goal is to resume racing and training on Saturday, Jan. 22, with post time Saturday afternoon moved to a 1:00 PM (Central) start time.

Normal schedules are expected to resume on Sunday, Jan. 23.

Nominees Released for Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Gun Runner and Untapable Stakes

Nine additional stakes to be run December 26th and 27th

New Orleans, LA (December 2, 2021) – December 26 marks the inaugural running of two new Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep races at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots – the $100,000 Gun Runner for 2-year-olds and the $100,000 Untapable Stakes for 2-year-old fillies – and nominations for both races have been released.

With a first post of noon CT, six stakes will be run on the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day card on Saturday, December 26, with the newly anointed races leading into to Fair Grounds’ traditional Kentucky Derby preps – the Lecomte (G3), Risen Star (G2) presented by Lamarque Ford and the Twin Spires Louisiana Derby (G2), and traditional Kentucky Oaks preps – the Silverbulletday, Rachel Alexandra (G2) presented by Fasig-Tipton and the Twin Spires Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). The Gun Runner, which will award 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, closed with 21 nominations and the Untapable, which will award 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, closed with 22 nominations.

Post positions for the December 26 card, which also includes the Tenacious Stakes, Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes, Blushing KD Stakes, and the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes will be drawn on Thursday December 16. The Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Memorial, The Woodchopper, Sugar Bowl, Letellier, and Pago Hop Stakes, to be run on December 27, will be drawn on Friday December 17.

“With the type of horses and trainers we have on the backside here year in and year out we thought it was the perfect opportunity to have these stakes with Derby and Oaks points attached four weeks out from Lecomte Day,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “It’s perfect timing too, as most of our open horses come from Churchill Downs and it’s four weeks removed from their Stars Of Tomorrow card. You’ll see a lot of 2-year-olds that ran on that day reappear here on Dec 26.”

Run over 1 1/16 miles, the Gun Runner is named for the local winner of the 2016 Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. He also counts the 2017 Breeders Cup Classic (G1) and 2018 Pegasus World Cup (G1) among his top stakes scores.

Brad Cox leads all trainers with six Gun Runner nominees, including Dean Maltzman’s Kaely’s Brother, the adjudicated winner of the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs, and Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and Ten Strike Racing’s Rocket Dawg, a dominant winner at first asking at Churchill Downs on November 19.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has a trio of horses nominated to the Gun Runner including dominant recent maiden winners in Ed and Susie Orr’s All In Sync and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter.

Other top nominees to the Gun Runner include: Tom R. Durant’s Tejano Twist, who has already racked up three wins for trainer Bret Calhoun, including the Lively Shively last out on the November 27 Stars of Tomorrow card at Churchill Downs and C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stables’ White Abarrio, who has two wins and a recent third place finish behind Smile Happy and Classic Causeway in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs on his resume for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Trainer Ken McPeek has a pair of potential aces nominated to the Untapable, to be run over 1 mile and 70 yards, in Dixiana Farms’ Cocktail Moments and Bret Jones and Cold Press Racing’s Park on the Nile, both of whom won impressively at first asking on the Stars of Tomorrow card.

Cox and Asmussen each boast a trio of Untapable nominees. Cox’s fillies include the Godolphin homebred Matereya, who won at first asking in advance of a fifth place finish behind her stablemate Ju Ju’s Map in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland and a runner-up performance in the Fern Creek at Churchill Downs last time out. Famed, a Godolphin half sister to likely champion Essential Quality, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill and Gregory Hoffman’s Golden Sights, a recent maiden dominator at Keeneland, are also Untapable options for Cox.

Asmussen’s Untapable nominees are led by an impressive first out winner in the Stonestreet homebred La Crete, who is a half sister to last year’s Rachel Alexandra winner Clariere.

Chris Walsh’s California Angel, the 17-1 upset winner of the Jessamine (G2) on the Keeneland turf in advance of a disappointing 11th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar, is also nominated to the Untapable, which is named for the 2014 winner of the locally-run Rachel Alexandra and Fair Grounds Oaks in addition to the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders Cup Distaff that same year.

The list of nominees and the past performances for all 11 stakes to be run at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on December 26-27 can be found here https://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbHorsemenAreaSNHW.cfm?trk=FG.

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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 150th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 109th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 25, 2021 through March 27, 2022. More information is available online at http://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.