Fair Grounds

Stewart Diverts Fair Grounds Stalwart to Pegasus

Put Dallas Stewart in front of a chessboard, and you know that he'd almost always rather corner the king, with a potential checkmate scenario, than turn around and strike out a mere pawn or two. Sure enough, Wednesday the trainer announced that connections have agreed to go on the attack with Chess Chief (Into Mischief)--even though taking up an invitation for the GI Pegasus World Cup, at Gulfstream Jan. 29, entails renouncing a "home game" this weekend. Chess Chief has developed a remarkable affinity for the Fair Grounds, scene of...

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Fair Grounds Not Definite on Dates Reduction

Jason Boulet, the Fair Grounds director of racing, was repeatedly pressed by Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) member Tom Calvert Tuesday about whether or not his track would once again seek a statutory change to reduce its required number of race dates from 80 to 75 when the state legislature convenes its 2022 session Mar. 14. The exchange did not yield a definitive answer beyond Boulet's disclosure that the Fair Grounds and its corporate parent, the gaming firm Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), would be in favor of participating in discussions...

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Fix to Delta's Light Woes Might Not Arrive by End of Meet

A new lighting system at Delta Downs that was only operational for three races on the first night of the season back in October and has been repeatedly tweaked since then might not end up being deemed safe or usable for racing by the time the current Thoroughbred meet ends Mar. 5. Ironically, after more than three months of debate over alleged shadows and perceived inconsistencies with how the patterns fall on the racing surface, the lighting installer and a consulting firm retained by Delta are now trying to rectify...

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KHRC Vacates Levamisole Rulings Against Sharp

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has vacated the sanctions it imposed on trainer Joe Sharp following five positive tests for levamisole in horses who ran at Churchill Downs in November 2019. A KHRC ruling issued Thursday and first reported by Blood-Horse, read, "Due to the de-classification of levamisole in August 2015 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, all penalties previously assessed to Owner/Trainer Joe Sharp in Stewards' Rulings #21-0006, #21-0008, #21-0010, #21-0011 and #21-0012 are hereby vacated." Sharp was suspended 30 days and fined $2,500 by the KHRC last January...

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January Offering Could Put a Buyer on the Derby Trail

Bidders will have the chance to vie for a promising 3-year-old when debut winner Belgrade (Hard Spun) (hip 853H) goes through the ring at the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale Wednesday in Lexington. The colt was purchased by Randy Bradshaw for $45,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase and had originally been targeted for resale at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale. "He was a good-looking horse, but I am kind of a Hard Spun fan," Bradshaw said of the colt's appeal as a yearling. "He fit the bill...

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Smaller, But Still Super: Steve Margolis

The concept of the super trainer is by no means a new phenomenon in horse racing, but the huge stables run by super trainers have undoubtedly changed the landscape of the sport in many ways, from the backside to the racing entries. Are super trainers bad for the sport?  Are there any benefits for an owner in using a "smaller" trainer? We asked these questions and more to a few trainers who may not be considered super trainers in terms of their stall numbers, but they have made the most...

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Purse Increase at Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds Race Course has announced a 15% across-the-board purse increase, effective with entries for the Jan. 13 card which will be drawn Jan. 6. Maiden special weight races at the New Orleans oval will now be worth $52,000. "We're extremely excited to announce a 15% increase to our daily purse structure," Fair Grounds' racing secretary Scott Jones said. "Based on the strong early handle returns and continued support from our owners and horsemen, we are in a position to raise purses."

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Practical Joke's Girl With a Dream Takes Letellier Memorial

Girl With a Dream broke sharply and made all to win the Letellier Memorial S. and become the fifth stakes winner for her freshman sire Practical Joke (Into Mischief) Monday at Fair Grounds. The 3-5 favorite, adding Lasix for this effort, grabbed the lead and was pressed through an opening quarter in :22.49. She was joined by stablemate Com' on Sweet Luv at the top of the lane after a half in :46.42 and determinedly held that rival at bay to the wire. Girl With a Dream graduated by 6...

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Reagan Makes the Right Decision

Two years ago, 8-year-old Reagan Ingordo purchased a weanling daughter of Unified for $25,000 at the Keeneland November sale. The filly rewarded her young buyer when winning her career debut at Fair Grounds Sunday, but Reagan wasn't the only winner when Reagan's Decision (Unified) crossed the wire first in New Orleans. Before the race, trainer (and stepmom) Cherie DeVaux tweeted out that any purse earnings from the race would be donated to relief efforts following the devastating tornadoes in Western Kentucky. Visiting Reagan's Decision on the Fair Grounds backstretch Monday...

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Sunday's Insights: Half To Beach Patrol Debuts

3rd-FG, $40k, Msw, 2yo, 5 1/2fT, 3:01 p.m. Tom Amoss unveils the latest racing age addition to the Bertie family with pricey BARONNE (Into Mischief) taking to the starting gate in a turf sprint. Out of Bashful Bertie (Quiet American), herself a half to MGSW Hurricane Bertie (Storm Boot) and a full to graded-stakes winner/producer Allamerican Bertie, the colt brought $200,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale from agent AI Pike. A year later, as a 2-year-old going through the Fasig-Tipton Timonium sale (:10 1/5), he RNA'd for $420,000 from...

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Not This Time Filly Remains Undefeated in Untapable S.

A four-length winner at Indiana Grand Sept. 27, North County added a Keeneland allowance in a sloppy off-turfer Oct. 30. Second choice Sunday afternoon at 7-2, the Shadow Pond Stable-bred rated in a three-deep third into the first turn in the wake of a dawdling pace. The tempo quickened as noses pointed toward home and North County was shaken up leaving the bend. It took most of the stretch, but she clawed past Fannie and Freddie in the final few jumps to remain undefeated and collect a first black-type rosette....

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Dec. 26 Insights

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency HALF TO ALWAYS DREAMING MAKES CAREER BOW 4th-FG, $45K, Msw, 2yo, f, 6f, 2:30 p.m. Mike Ryan will be represented by the latest foal out of his and the late Gerry Dilger's blue hen Above Perfection (In Excess {Ire}) in BEYOND PERFECTION (Curlin). The Grade III winner is also responsible for GI Kentucky Derby and GI Florida Derby hero Always Dreaming (Bodemeister); GSW Positive Spirit (Pioneerof the Nile); and GISW Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union), who in turn produced GSW Pauline's Pearl (Tapit) and MSW...

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