Nosilverspoonshere Proves her Class in Shantel Lanerie Memorial
Corey Lanerie Notches Fifty at Fair Grounds with fated triumph in stakes named for his departed wife
After breezing through her allowance conditions, Rocket Ship Racing’s Nosilverspoonshere successfully stepped up to Louisiana-bred stakes company beating seven older fillies and mares by one length in the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Stakes on Sunday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Trained by Tom Amoss and piloted by Corey Lanerie, Nosilverspoonshere completed the 1 mile 70 yards in 1:43.33
Named in memory of jockey Corey Lanerie’s wife Shantel who died from complications from treating breast cancer, Sunday’s finale was a poignant conclusion to the 2022-2023 meet as Corey Lanerie’s fiftieth win was by far the most meaningful.
“Words can’t describe it,” Corey Lanerie said. “I know (Shantel) is looking down on us and she helped me get across the wire. At one point in the race, I didn’t know if I was going to get there. I dove inside and saw the one horse (A G’s Charlotte) moving well. I got behind her and made my move when she did, but when I got outside, my filly showed her class.”
Mishpachah shot out to the early lead, charging through the calls in :23.85 and :47.05. With the blinkers off, A G’s Charlotte stalked in mid-pack two-wide and came with a run to take the lead from Mishpachah in the homestretch. Nosilverspoonshere settled near the back, took the rail in pursuit, tipped out to target A G’s Charlotte, and rallied past to score. Mishpachah hung on for third. After taking a few bumps out of the gate and tracking in 5th, Free Like a Girl stayed on through the wire for fourth.
Brook Smith’s Rocket Ship Racing will be donating half of Nosilverspoonshere’s earnings in Sunday’s stakes to the Shantel Lanerie Foundation. Immediately following the race, Fair Grounds hosted The Breast Cancer Survivor and Memorial Second Line, benefiting the Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Foundation, as participants stepped in line behind a brass band to parade around the apron and raise money and awareness for a worthy cause.
Fort Polk, Winning Romance, Mo Bling, and Medley rounded out the finishing order.
Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Nosilverspoonshere paid $4.40, $3.20, and $2.40.
She boosted her career record to 7-4-1-0 and earnings to $154,094.
Dominant Yet Again, Touchuponastar Takes Star Guitar Stakes
Star Guitar-sired exacta as Behemah Star up for second
Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar yet again proved to be too much, wiring the field in Sunday’s $75,000 Star Guitar Stakes presented by Brittlyn Stable at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The indisputable top older Louisiana-bred dirt male beat five others by 3 1/2 lengths, covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.76.
Trained by Jeff Delhomme and ridden by Tim Thornton, Touchuponastar has now won five races in a row, three of those being stakes scores. Both the winner and the place-finisher, Behemah Star, are sired by the stakes namesake, Star Guitar.
“This horse makes my job easy,” Thornton said. “Jake and the Delhomme team have done such a good job with him. I am thankful and fortunate enough that I get to hold onto him.”
With little change in the running order throughout, Touchuponastar took the commanding lead, posting opening fractions of :24.44 and :48.29 while Highland Creek and Behemah Star chased in second and third, respectively. Behemah Star bid past Highland Creek in the second turn and gamely kept coming at Touchuponastar, but the winner’s powerful stride proved too much. Highland Creek held on for third and off-the-pace runner Blue Cheese scrambled home for fourth. Cosmic Train and Smarty Alex finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
“I think this is what anyone who owns and trains horses prays the good lord sends you,” owner Jake Delhomme said. “I’ve had a lot of average horses and every now and again you get lucky and we’ve got lucky with this. We’re going to take care of him and enjoy the ride.”
Touchuponastar was bet down to 1-2 and returned $3.00. $2.10, and $2.10. He boosted his career record to 8-6-1-1 and earnings to $298,100.
Big Chopper Slices Up Costa Rising Rail for Third Stakes Win At the Meet
First, it was the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, next the Eddie Johnston Memorial turf route, and on Saturday, Kendel D. Standlee’s Big Chopper sprinted up the Stall-Wilson Turf Course rail to nose out a late charge from Brian’s Iron Mike in the $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes.
Trained by Scott Gelner, Big Chopper covered 5 1/2 turf furlongs in 1:05.70. The portable rail was at 28 feet and the course was listed as firm. Corey Lanerie handled the reins, one of three stakes wins for Lanerie on closing weekend.
Yankee Seven led the way, cruising through the early fractions in :23.06 and :47.84. Big Chopper positioned along the rail and never left, which proved to be the winning advantage as Brian’s Iron Mike raced wide and encountered trouble. Causing interference in mid-stretch, Bertie’s Galaxy was disqualified from third and placed in 6th place.
“This horse just keeps getting the job done,” Gelner said. “Corey gave him a great ride. I don’t know what Big Chopper does best but he’s good at everything and it’s great to have a horse like this. He’s run hard for us this meet and I’m going to give him a break. He deserves it. It’s nice to have options like this with a horse like this moving forward.”
As versatile as they come, Big Chopper has the $320,333 in lifetime earnings to prove it. His win in the Costa Rising was his sixth in 16 career starts.
Bron and Brow, Relentless Dancer, Yankee Seven, Feisty Fist, X Clown, and Vodka Gimlet completed the order of finish.
First I’ve Seen Scores First Stakes in Page Cortez
Charging home late into a pace meltdown, Tom Curtis’ First I’ve Seen upset the $75,000 Page Cortez for his first stakes score and first win on the turf. Going 5 1/2 furlongs on Sunday’s firm Stall-Wilson urf course, First I’ve Seen beat eight 3-year-old and up statebred fillies and mares by one length.
Trained by Victor Arceneaux and guided by Casey Fusilier, the 4-year-old First I’ve Seen stopped the clock in 1:06.93.
“Every time Victor comes through with a horse, I have a lot of confidence in him,” Fusilier said. “He’s an incredible trainer and we’ve had a helluva run.”
With the portable rail at 28 feet, Drop Dead Sexy cooked up the first quarter mile in :22.78 and continued on in front simmering through the half-mile marker in :48.74. The top three early on began to fade, in the end finishing up the track, as First I’ve Seen led the charge of late runners from mid-pack to lead at the stretch call. Snowball followed and appeared to have place-honors secured but was drilled by high-flying Wholelottamo who was in the back of the pack at the top of the stretch. Final Quest beat out the odds-on favorite Charlie T for fourth.
“This filly has been on the improve over her last couple of races,” Arceneaux said. “When we drew on the outside I was excited about that. I was a little nervous about all the speed on the inside but Casey (Fusilier) told me not to worry, we had it.”
World War, Beleout, Maestria, and Drop Dead Sexy completed the order of finish.
Dismissed at 10-1, First I’ve Seen rewarded her backers with payouts of $23.60, $11.20, and $5.40. The honest and versatile filly notched another in the win column, bringing her lifetime standings to 13-6-2-4 and earnings to $202,890.
Evelyn Benoit & trainer Jose Camejo win two stakes on closing day
(New Orleans, Louisiana – Sunday, March 27, 2022) – In a banner season that saw her top the owner’s standings with 22 wins, eight more than her closest pursuer Allied Racing Stables, Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stables won a pair of $75,000 stakes on closing day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. She took the Page Cortez Memorial with Ova Charged, and fittingly, the Star Guitar with a son of that stallion, Behemah Star. Both horses are trained by Jose Camejo.
All 22 of Benoit’s meet wins were by horses sired by Star Guitar, whom she stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $7,500 per live foal. With 27 wins from 100 starts, Camejo finished seventh in the trainer’s standings.
In the Page Cortez, which is named for the longtime Louisiana senator, the .60-1 favorite Ova Charged, dominated from start to finish. In what was her turf debut and first start since her Louisiana Champions Day victory in the Ladies Sprint on December 11, the 4-year-old daughter of Star Guitar was pressed early by Offspring through early fractions of 22.47 and 46.46. She put that foe away at the top of the stretch and was not menaced thereafter, stopping the timer in 1:04.44 for 5 ½ furlongs on firm turf with the rails down, even jumping a shadow in the stretch along the way. Defeated by seven lengths, Offspring held off Snowball by a nose for second.
It was the third consecutive win and fifth in six starts for Ova Charged, with her only defeat coming behind Super Sensational in the Victory Ride (G3) last summer at Belmont. The career bankroll now stands a $219,600.
One race later, Behemah Star scored a mild upset at 9.30-1 in the Star Guitar for Brittlyn Stables and Camejo, defeating a pair of Allied Racing Stable runners in Highland Creek and .90-1 favorite Who Took the Money. Earlier in the day, Chester Thomas (Allied Racing Stable) scored a stakes win of his own with trainer Bret Calhoun, taking the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial with his homebred Winning Romance.
As they like to say, ‘The waiting is the hardest part.’ Loaded entering the far turn with nowhere to go in the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, Mitchell Murrill and Rodney Verret’s Saints N Muskets bided their time, found a seam in midstretch, and kicked clear for a convincing 2-length win over Snowball in the penultimate 2020-21 stakes race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Saints N Muskets ($10.20) alternated between third and fourth while on the rail early in the Lanerie, as longshot Crescentcitypretty set an honest pace of 24.71 and 48.19, in what was a tight-knit field of six. The field bunched that much more entering the far turn as Murrill and Saint N Muskets drafted into contention while behind a wall of horses, with little to do but wait and hope for an opening. Said opening emerged in midstretch between a tiring Crescentcitypretty and Quikfast N Ahurry and Murrill produced Saints N Muskets, who burst through and pulled clear over a wide rallying Snowball. She’s Gone d’Wild finished a nose behind Snowball for the place, while 1.80-1 favorite Net a Bear, stablemate to the winner, finished fourth. Saints N Muskets covered the 1-mile and 70 yards over a fast main track in 1:42.81.
“It worked out perfect,” Murrill said. “The horse broke sharp, I was able to save ground in the pocket and wait for my time to go. Things opened up for me at the head of the lane and I was able to squeeze though.”
Saints N Muskets has morphed from an allowance/fringe stakes contender early in her career to a proven Louisiana-bred star over the past several for trainer Allen Landry. The 6-year-old daughter of Musket Man ended 2020 with a win in the Lookout at Delta Downs in November and started 2021 with a win there in January in the Magnolia. After running second to Quikfast N Ahurry at Delta in the Premier Distaff in February Landry brought her to Fair Grounds where she tuned up for the Lanerie running seventh in her turf debut in the March 6 Red Camelia. Needless to say, Saints N Muskets, who is now 6-for-19 lifetime, won’t be heading back to the lawn any time soon.
“She’s a much better horse on the dirt, she didn’t seem to like the turf at all,” Landry said. “I expected Saints N Muskets would be a little closer but Mitchell said he just sat there and waited for his time until it opened up.”
The Shantel Lanerie is named for the late wife of longtime jockey Corey Lanerie, who passed away in June of 2018 due to complications from breast cancer. Information on her foundation can be found here https://shantellaneriefoundation.com.