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.