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.
Veteran Gamely Holds Off Favored Jus Lively in a Thriller
New Orleans (March 27, 2021) – Bruised foot be damned, Aubrie Green wasn’t going to miss a chance to ride Pound for Pound. Shaking off a Friday afternoon trip to the hospital after her foot was stepped on, Green climbed aboard her beloved Pound for Perfect and delivered a perfectly timed ride to hold off a hard-charging Jus Lively by a length in the $75,000 Star Guitar for Louisiana breds, which closed down the stakes action at the 2020-21 Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet.
Green won for the fourth time in a row on Israel Flores Horses’ Pound for Pound, a 6-year-old son of Redding Colliery, though the streak was in serious jeopardy some 24 hours before. Green was tossed from a mount on the Friday card and had her foot stepped on, which prompted her to take off her remaining mounts. X-rays proved negative, the bandages went on, and Green pronounced herself fit to ride. Not that there was ever any doubt in her mind.
“I said if it’s broken, we are just going to wrap that thing up and I’m going to ride this race,” Green said. “This horse is my whole world. I love him. He is my best friend. I’ve never been so in sync with a horse before. He just does everything for me. He gives me all of his heart every single time. It doesn’t matter what the odds are.”
Pound for Pound ($16.40) has done his best running setting or pressing the early pace but Green got him to settle a bit more in the Star Guitar, as they tracked loose leader Maga Man in second through pedestrian fractions of 25.12 and 49.95, which 3-2 favorite Just Lively was just a length back in third. The cadence, if not the order, quickened entering the far turn and Pound for Pound wrestled a short lead from Maga Man approaching midstretch, with Jus Lively in hot pursuit. Pound for Pound drifted off his line slightly while Jus Lively took second but had plenty left in reserve to score for the eighth time in 25 career starts for trainer Andrea Ali.
Pound for Pound won for the fourth straight time with Green aboard, dating back to a Delta Downs allowance in December 2019, along with the Louisiana Champions Day Classic here in December 2019 and an optional-claiming win here in January. The Star Guitar played out exactly as Green had it mapped out in her mind.
“I knew Maga Man was going to try to go,” Green said. “I figured if I get the lead easy, I’ll take it, but if he goes, I’m going to sit right off of him. We were going pretty slow right off the bat so I just held him right on his hip. Down the backstretch I asked him just a little bit just to make sure he knew we were still in the race because he gets a little lackadaisical.”
Ali, based primarily at Delta, shipped in Pound for Pound earlier in the meet and his stable star continued his affinity for the Fair Grounds oval, as that made it 8-3-3-0 locally. One of those second-place finishes was by a neck in the 2019 Star Guitar, when Green and Pound for Pound led every step but the last few. The pair made amends Saturday, in what was undoubtedly a team effort.
“This is the best horse Mr. Flores has had so far,” Ali said. “The whole team, from the grooms to the riders, have done a good job with this horse. Aubrie wins with him all the time. I don’t give her any instructions. She knows the horse.”
The Star Guitar is named in honor of the richest Louisiana-bred ever, a Brittlyn Stable homebred who earned $1.749 million in a distinguished 30-24-0-2 career that included 22 stakes wins for trainer Al Stall Jr.
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