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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BATTLE AT SEA SCORES FIRST STAKES WIN IN CRESCENT CITY DERBY; TESTING ONE TWO TAKES CRESCENT CITY OAKS

Battle At Sea_3-24-2018-F
Battle At Sea with Jose Ortiz aboard captures the 46th running of the Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

Crescent City Derby
Fair Grounds, 3-24-18, 1 mile 70 yards, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Breds, Three-year-olds

BATTLE AT SEA
Into Mischief–Mystery At Sea
Breeder: Clear Creek Stud LlLC
Owner: Three Diamonds Farm
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Jose L. Ortiz

2nd
Pound for Pound
Redding Colliery–Buttercup’s Song
Breeder: J. Adcock & B&B Bloodstock
Owner: Israel Flores Horses LLC
Trainer: Jose Grimaldo
Jockey: Florent Geroux

3rd
Gracida
Custom for Carlos–Tensas Wedding Joy
Breeder: Curt Leake & Elm Tree Farm , LLC
Owner: Zedan Racing Stables Inc
Trainer: Doug F. O’Neill
Jockey: Terry J. Thompson

NEW ORLEANS (March 24, 2018) – Three Diamonds Farm’s Battle At Sea successfully transitioned into stakes company with a win in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby against state-bred competition.

 Coming off a gate-to-wire maiden breaking score February 10, the 3-year-old trained by Mike Maker led his foes from start to finish again Saturday with Jose Ortiz aboard.

 “Going into the race, I saw some speed to my inside but when I went to the post parade he was really keen and pulling me,” Ortiz said. “When I got to the lead, he relaxed. I felt like I was going fast but he was relaxed. When I asked him to go, he gave me a little run.”

 Battle At Sea opened up on the field going down the backside after posting splits of 23.28 and 46.69. He shrugged off a challenge from eventual third-place finisher Gracida around the turn, and never relinquished his advantage. He crossed the line 2 1/4 lengths clear of second-place finisher Pound for Pound. The final time was 1:44.90. Double Star rounded out the superfecta. Sent off at 7-1, Battle At Sea paid $17.40, $7.40, $4.80.

 Three Diamonds Farm bought the son of Into Mischief for $55,000 at last year’s OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale. He debuted at Churchill Downs in June only a few months later with a fourth-place finish but did not start again until December 29.

 “He had a little injury at Saratoga so we had to give him some time off,” Maker said. “We were pointing to this meet. He’s a big old horse that wants more ground.”

 That seems to be the case as the Louisiana-bred is now 2-for-2 around two turns.

 Rounding out the field were Double Star, Treys Midnite Moon, Gladyousawme, Grand Luwegee, Uncle Nearis and Ready Prospector.

Testing One Two_3-24-2018-F
Diego Saenz aboard Testing One Two wins the 13th running of the Crescent City Oaks at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

Crescent City Oaks
Fair Grounds, 3-24-18, 1 mile 70 yards, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Breds, Three-year-old fillies

TESTING ONE TWO
Star Guitar–Yes Sir
Breeder: Brittlyn, Inc.
Owner: Brittlyn Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Victor Arceneaux
Jockey: Diego Saenz

2nd
Champagne Diva
Tale of the Cat–Wine Diva
Breeder: Becky Winemiller
Owner: Diamond Racing, Inc., Janssen, J., Janssen, J., Camodeca, P. and Camodeca, N.
Trainer: Leo G. Gabriel, Jr.
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie

3rd
Remember Daisy
Misremembered–Very Speightstown
Breeder: Al Ulwelling & Bill Ulwelling
Owner: Al Ulwelling & Bill Ulwelling
Trainer: Gary M. Scherer
Jockey: Mitchell Murrill

 

Earlier on the card, Brittlyn Stable’s Testing One Two made amends in the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks five weeks after a fifth-place finish in the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes.

 Testing One Two pounced from a stalking position around the far-turn and went clear of her Louisiana-bred competition in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. The final time for the 1-mile 70 yards distance was 1:43.21.

 “Last time she wasn’t really prepared for this stretch but she was so game,” said Evelyn Benoit, owner of Brittlyn Stables Inc. “I just hoped she could relax and do her thing today.”

 With her win Saturday, Testing One Two improved her record to four wins from six starts and $199,135 in earnings.

 Jockey Diego Saenz has ridden the filly in each of those starts.

 “All I needed was to have a clear trip and I got it,” Saenz said. “I felt like I had it from the three-eighths pole because I was where I wanted, on the outside, and she finished strong.”

 A daughter of Star Guitar, Testing One Two is a homebred for Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable.

 “I didn’t expect this filly to be better than Minit To Stardom, who is undefeated right now, we thought she would be the superhero,” Benoit said.  “I’ve been breeding horses for close to 40 years. Every year Star’s babies are looking great. We’ve had 19 born this so far this year and they look fabulous.”

 The connection between Arceneaux and Benoit dates back to Star Guitar.

 “He actually broke Star Guitar. He was my Kindergarten teacher, and now I gave him the opportunity to be the trainer,” Benoit said. “I have seven or eight trainers right now and I think I’m going add two more. We understand that a lot of people don’t want to come to Louisiana to breed to Star Guitar so we’re going to send them all over. That’s a great way for people to see them.”

 Arceneaux and Benoit noted after the race that Testing One Two be sent out of town in her next start.

 “We’re thinking about the (Gr. II $250,000) Black Eyed Susan (at Pimlico on May 18) next,” Benoit said.

 Rounding out the field are Special Blessing, Saint’s Girl, Tap Dance Star and Thegrayspider.

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Dontmesswithjoanne Makes Powerful Stretch Run To Win The Red Camelia Stakes

Red Camelia Stakes
Fair Grounds, 3-17-18, @ 1 mile, turf, $60,000
Accredited Louisiana Breds, 4-Year-Olds and Upwards, Fillies and Mares

DONTMESSWITHJOANNE
Pioneerof the Nile–Cinnamon Kisses
Breeder: Gulf Haven Farms, LLC
Owner: Zayat Stables, LLC
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Jockey: Joe Bravo

2nd
Mr. Al’s Gal
Salute the Sarge–Spanish Ice
Breeder: J. Adcock & Neal McFadden
Owner: Brittlyn Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Justin Jeansonne
Jockey: Diego Saenz

3rd
Pera
Drosselmeyer–Changing Seasons
Breeder: James McIngvale
Owner: HP Thoroughbreds LLC (Brandon Hillman)
Trainer: Ricky Courville
Jockey: Ashley Broussard

 

By Ryan Martin

Zayat Stables LLC’s Dontmesswithjoanne ($12.60, $5.80, $4.20) laid well off the pace to score and made a big move down the top of the stretch to defeat ten other Louisiana-bred fillies and mares in the 42nd running of the Red Camelia Stakes over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ Stall-Wilson Turf Course on Saturday afternoon.

Trained by Brad Cox, the 4-year-old daughter of Pioneerof the Nile was saving ground around the first turn and was unhurried throughout the early stages of the race. Meanwhile, Florida invader Viva Vegas set a slow pace early on and produced opening fractions of 24.05, 48.77, and 1:15.01. Mr. Al’s Gal tracked not too far behind in second. At the top of the stretch, Viva Vegas’ lead began to dwindle but she still appeared to have something left. However, Mr. Al’s Gal began to purse Viva Vegas to her inside and briefly took the lead, but was unable to hold off a charge from Dontmesswithjoanne who won going away with Joe Bravo in the irons. Mr. Al’s Gal ($6.60, $6.80) was second and 71-1 longshot Pera finished third ($19.60).  Dontmesswithjoanne finished in a time of 1:40.48.

“You had those times and with the soft turf I think they got a hold of it,” Bravo said. “With a filly like this you just have to make sure that she was happy. She picked herself and went with it. When you ride the best horse, it’s easy. That’s the bottom line.”

The Red Camelia Stakes was a first stakes victory for Dontmesswithjoanne, which pushed her career earnings to $158,695. She earned $36,000 from Saturday’s win. In 11 career starts, she has won four races with three seconds and one third.

Rounding out the order of finish were Pacific Pink, Viva Vegas, Inveniam Viam, Safari Calamari, P Boo, Temple Shadow, Tap City Baby and Beleiveinsomething.

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Trust Factor Takes Dixie Poker Ace Stakes

By Ryan Martin

Trust Factor_3-3-2018-ho
Corey Lanerie aboard Trust Factor captures the 38th running of the Dixie Poker Ace Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Kristina Taylor

 

Dixie Poker Ace Stakes
Fair Grounds, 3-3-18, 1 mile, turf, $60,000
4-Year-Olds and Upwards, Accredited Louisiana Breds

TRUST FACTOR
Paddy O’Prado–Mainsail
Breeder: J. Adcock & Hume Wornall
Owner: Scrivener Stables
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie

2nd
Extra Credit
Proud Citizen–Sunny Isles
Breeder: Richard Klein & Bertram Klein
Owner: Klein Racing
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan

3rd
Morning Mischief
Into Mischief–Morning Ridge
Breeder: David Meche & Perry Judice
Owner: Al Ulwelling, Bill Ulwelling, and Joe Johnson
Trainer: Gary M. Scherer
Jockey: Florent Geroux

 

Scrivener Stables’ Trust Factor ($6.00, $3.20, $2.40) held off a late charge from Extra Credit in the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes, a one mile event on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course restricted to Louisiana-breds.

The son of Paddy O’Prado sat just a length off of a slow pace set by Morning Mischief who was making his turf debut and set opening fractions of 24.57, 49.40 and 1:14.09 while Zarb’s Gift kept close company and sat a half-length off of the pacesetter.  At the top of the stretch, Morning Mischief gave way to Zarb’s Gift who took the lead before being passed up by Trust Factor. The eventual winner was confronted by the favorite Extra Credit in the final furlong of the event but had just enough to hang on by a nose and stopped the clock in a time of 1:37.93 with jockey Corey Lanerie in the irons. Front runner Morning Mischief ($5.20) completed the trifecta.

Trained by Mike Maker, Trust Factor scored his seventh victory in 15 career starts and earned $36,000 from a win in the Dixie Poker Ace, which increased his bankroll to $284,000. It was the second stakes victory for Trust Factor, who won the Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes at Louisiana Downs last July.

Rounding out the field were Gentlemen’s Agreement,Grande Basin,Mageez, Berniestrike and last year’s Dixie Poker Ace winner Let Us Be Glad.

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