Fair Grounds Welcomes “The Real Players Inside the Backstretch”
New Orleans, La (December 17, 2022) – One of the most anticipated Louisiana-bred juveniles to emerge at the beginning of the 2021-2022 meet, Gary Barber’s Bron and Brow impressed his fans as much as he left them scratching their heads. The Mark Casse trainee would win going away one race and then lose by multiple lengths the next. The talent was never in doubt and the public kept going back to the well. He was bet to favoritism in four straight races at Fair Grounds, but getting his mind in the race and finding the right distance took some dialing in.
On Thursday, Dec 15, the sophomore son of Gormley returned from a 6-month layoff and put his talent on full display, earning a career-best 94 Brisnet Speed figurein a second-level allowance for statebreds. With Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, Bron and Brow beat a stout field to the front and put more distance between them at each call to win by 3 lengths in the end.
“He came back from the farm doing fantastic,” assistant trainer on the grounds David Carroll said. “We gelded him and he filled out nicely coming into this. Brian (jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.) put him into the race early and (Bron and Brow) ran his race.”
After debuting at Del Mar and finishing third, Bron and Brow entered the 2021 $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. He had a troubled trip, lost by a 1/2 length, and after the race, his connections weren’t shy about their belief that he wouldn’t be a maiden much longer. Three weeks later he won the 2021 $100,000 Louisiana Futurity, pulling off the always impressive maiden win against stakes company.
“After winning the Futurity, we tried two turns with him, but that didn’t suit him,” Carroll said. “Last year he wasn’t finishing his races for whatever reason, but he ran well up at Woodbine over the summer. We’ll look to keep him going short. He came out of Thursday’s race looking super, and we’re looking at the Palmisano Stakes for him.”
The 1st running of the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes is for Louisiana-breds going 6 furlongs and will be run on Jan 7.
Fair Grounds Welcomes The Real Players Inside the Backstretch
With video camera and microphone in hand, Rasi Harper and Maurice Davis, the team behind The Real Players Inside the Backstretch, spent four days traveling virtually every inch of Fair Grounds – backside and front. Their mission is to celebrate the “real players” of horse racing – grooms, hot walkers, trainers, exercise riders, etcetera – and to capture the oral history of the sport from the people who have dedicated their lives to it. Louisiana Champions Day served as the perfect occasion and backdrop, as so many horsemen from across the Pelican state descended upon New Orleans.
With a channel on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, the content they have created has gained widespread popularity across the sport. Hailing from Saratoga Springs, Ny, the duo began their project at their home track, but they have since visited the other NYRA tracks, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and others.
“I chose to come here instead of the Breeders’ Cup,” Rasi Harper said. “Fair Grounds has got it. The horsemen here, the old-timers, everybody here is speaking to me about what this sport is all about.”
It began with a post on Twitter asking “Who should we visit at Fair Grounds?” Relying on clandestine run-ins and following these leads from social media, they found the legendary horsemen “Dead Eye” and John Bruno, revered trainer Neil Howard, groom Big B, soft-spoken Louisiana legends Pat Mouton andLeslie Balthazar, and many others who have dedicated their lives to racing and to Fair Grounds, whether anyone knows it or not.
“It’s all about turning the camera on others, it’s not about me,” Harper said. “The people I speak to possess a deep knowledge and we’re all about listening to what they have to say.”
The Real Players Inside the Backstretch interviews captured at Fair Grounds and elsewhere can be found on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
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