The LTBA Announces Changes to Louisiana Champions Day

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association Board of Directors and the Fair Grounds Racetrack and Slots have agreed to a couple of changes to the Louisiana Champions Day race card.

The Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes will be moving from the dirt to the turf course. The distance will remain the same at a mile and one sixteenth.

The Louisiana Champions Day Handicap Stakes will now be open to starters that have run for a claiming price of $7,500 or less. Previously the Louisiana Champions Day Handicap Stakes was restricted to horses that have run for a claiming price of $12,500 or less. The distance has been changed to 1 mile on the turf course.

The changes are effective starting with the 2017 running of Louisiana Champions Day to be run at Fair Ground Racetrack in New Orleans, on the second Saturday in December.

Mobile Bay Runs Away With Louisiana Champions Day Classic

Tigertail Ranch’s Mobile Bay entered Saturday’s featured $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic as the lone graded stakes winner in the field and asserted said class in a dominant 4 3/4-length triumph under a heady ride by Diego Saenz. An iron horse, having raced 24 times over the last two seasons, the 17-hand dark bay appeared fresh and strong throughout, tracking defending champ The Pickett Factor in second before moving through an opening on the rail to take control of the race on the far turn. From there, the Victor Arceneaux trainee was all poise, widening his sizable stride and winning margin to the wire. Winner of the Grade II Super Derby and Classic runner-up last year, the son of Lone Star Special completed the 1 1/8-miles event for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward in 1:51.31.

The victory was part of a stellar day for Irwin Olian’s Tigertail Ranch, which also won the $100,000 Ladies Sprint with Danny Pish-trained Wheatfield and finished second in the $100,000 Turf with Fort Pulaski from four starters.

“After a good break, I was able to put him pretty much where I wanted to,” Saenz said. “He’s a big horse and if he doesn’t break good, he’s not going to run that well. He put me in position and I had time to save all the ground on the second turn and just go for it.”

Setting fractions of 24.82, 49.67 and 1:13.62 under John Jacinto, The Pickett Factor begrudgingly retreated to third for trainer Ralph Irwin and owner Melissa Cantacuzene. Double Dam Farm’s Delmar Caldwell-trained Mageez rallied well under Mitchell Murrill to grab the runner-up spot by a length.

Mobile Bay, who returned $7.40, $4.40 and $3.20 as the 5-2 third choice, won for the ninth time in 24 career starts, adding $90,000 to a career bankroll that now sits at $916,440. Mageez returned $6.20 and $4, while The Pickett Factor returnd $2.80.

“He was a little sharper than we had set out to be, so I just tried to get him settled,” Murrill said. “I had him in a  good spot and he was comfortable. I thought they would come back to me, but the winner kept going.”

“It was a good trip, but this horse has his own way of running,” Jacinto said. “He doesn’t like to be (near the rail), so we lost some ground. I was going so easily on the lead and he tried to come back to the winner, but in the last sixteenth he got tired.”

Finishing last of six in his attempt at a third Classic victory in as many attempts, 3-2 favorite Sunbean disappointed under Richard Eramia for trainer Ron Faucheux and owner Brittlyn Stable.

“He felt good and I was sitting behind the winner (on the backstretch), but he didn’t pick it up,” Eramia said. “He just didn’t have it. He’s such a nice horse to ride, but he didn’t have anything left today.”

The Classic running order was completed by Southern Argument, One King’s Man and the aformentioned Sunbean.

Valene Farms’ Hail to the Nile was courageous in victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, fending off a stiff two-pronged challenge in mid-stretch to post a three-quarter-length tally. Piloted by Francisco Torres, the local grass lover won his fifth race from 11 tries over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

The Sturges Ducoing-trained son of Pioneerof the Nile broke from the outside post six and dictated fractions of 24.63, 49.66 and 1:13.48 before being headed by Tigertail Ranch’s sophomore Fort Pulaski, under Florent Geroux, at the top of the lane. Determined, the bay repelled said Danny Pish trainee and also held off a stiff challenge from Charles C. Smith’s three-time Turf winner and 8-year-old local fan favorite String King, who finished another half-length astern Fort Pulaski in third under James Graham. The final time for the 1 1/16-miles event for 3-year-olds and upward Louisiana-breds was 1:43.88,

“He’s the kind of horse you rate and we took control of the pace,” Torres said. “Of course, you’re going to get pressure when you’re going easy fractions. He did it effortlessly and I asked him to kick it in (at the top of the stretch) and he did. We had a little something left in the tank.”

Sent to post as the 9-2 co-fourth-choice, Hail to the Nile paid $11.20, $6.40 and $3.60, while adding $60,000 to a career bankroll that now sits at $246,161. The win was his second in added-money company this year at the New Orleans oval, having acquired the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace on Feb. 27, and sixth in the 5-year-old gelding’s 31-race career. Fort Pulaski returned $4.40 and $2.60, while String King returned $2.40 as the slight 2-1 favorite.

“I was in a great spot and thought I had him,” Geroux said. “I went to go by him at the quarter pole, but at the eighth-pole he came back on me.”

“I had a beautiful trip,” Graham added. “When I tipped him out, I had all the racetrack in front of me. He just didn’t have it.”

The Turf field was completed by Let Us Be Glad, defending champion Hot Zapper and local prep winner Benwill.

After falling short as the favorite in the local prep, Maggi Moss’ Big World ($4.20, $2.80 and $2.20) rebounded with a game effort to score in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies. A clean break under Florent Geroux set the 3-year-old daughter of Custom for Carlos up for a perfect pressing trip behind fractions of 24.15, 47.63 and 1:12.48 before assuming command at the top of the lane. The Tom Amoss trainee then turned away a late challenge from Set-Hut LLC’s Jerry Delhomme-trained Forest Lake ($5.80 and $2.60) under Hector Santiago to post a neck win in 1:45.08 for the 1 1/16-miles trip. Keith Plaisance’s defending champion Pacific Pink ($2.40) was another five lengths back in third under Robby Albarado for trainer Eddie Johnston.

“It was going great,” Geroux said. “She broke very sharply from the gate and from there I just tried to nurse her around and get her to relax.”

The win was Big World’s fourth in eight career starts, and the $60,000 winner’s share boosted her career bankroll to $318,600.

Heatseeker Sharon, Seaside Candy and Kinky Vow completed the order of finish.

Breeder-owner-trainer Dallas Stewart’s Saint’s Fan ($3, $2.40 and $2.10) justified his 1-2 favoritism with a sharp two-length score in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. The son of Tale of Ekati remained unbeaten in two starts under Brian Hernandez, Jr. after a sharp score against open maidens at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Placed in the outer paths while rated off splits of 22.17 and 45.74, Saint’s Fan commenced a relentless rally nearing the top of the stretch and eventually collared Rodney Verret’s Allen Landry-trained Laughingsaintssong under Florent Geroux ($6.40 and $4.20) in the final eighth of a mile to stop the clock in 1:10.74 for six furlongs. It was another 2½ lengths back to Jeff Drown and Gary Scherer’s Jack Snipe’s ($2.80) in third.

“We were a bit wide from the outside post, but we knew we had the best horse so I rode him like he was the best horse,” Hernandez, Jr. said. “I don’t think you’ve seen the best of him yet.”

Saint’s Fan earned $60,000 to boost his bankroll to $92,700.

Philly, Street Honor, Imindycatbirdseat, Just Due, Stormin Afleet and Run Away Ralph completed the running order.

Robbins Family Racing’s My Friend Flavin ($32.60, $10.80 and $7) returned to Louisiana-bred company for his first start since July and turned in a resolute rally to post a three-quarter-length win in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint. Trained by Leo Gabriel, Jr., the 4-year-old son of Forestry settled midpack under Robby Albarado behind splits of 21.71 and 45.19 set by Just Kissing Buck and Greeley’s Wish before wearing down Dare to Dream Stable’s Mike Stidham-trained 6-5 favorite Jockamo’s Song ($3.20 and $2.80), who led into deep stretch under Florent Geroux, in a final time of 1:10.60. It was three lengths further back to Suzette Necaise’s Eduardo Ramirez-trained Just Kissing Buck ($4.60) under Diego Saenz.

“I had a great trip,” Albarado said. “He broke exceptionally well and I sat right in between the two flights with no traffic trouble.”

The Sprint was the first stakes win and fourth overall from 13 lifetime starts for My Friend Flavin, who earned $60,000 to boost his bankroll to $164,202.

Nubin Ridge, Grande Basin, Greeley’s Wish, C U Tiger, Chattanoogan, John’s Luck, Zendelphian, Too Dim and Smoothmoney completed the running order.

Tigertail Ranch’s Wheatfield ($11.80, $5 and $3.20) returned to Louisiana-bred company for the first time in four starts and powered home a winner in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint. Ridden by Diego Saenz for trainer Danny Pish, Wheatfield tracked from the outside through splits of 21.85 and 45.28 before easily powering home clear by 3¾ lengths in 1:09.89 for six furlongs. Keith Plaisance’s Eddie Johnston-trained Sunny Oak ($5.40 and $3.40) battled for the early lead with Conquest Tiz One after a sharp break under Miguel Mena, went clear into the stretch, but could not repel the winner’s challenge. It was another 2¾ lengths back to Steve Landers Racing’s 9-5 favorite Illussion Artist ($2.80), who finished third under Robby Albarado for trainer Brad Cox.

“I was trying not to get stopped at any part of the race, so I kept her out so I could move any time I had to,” Saenz said.

Wheatfield, a 4-year-old daughter of Lone Star Special, won for the sixth time in 15 lifetime starts and earned $60,000 for the win, building her career bankroll to $264,754

Ramona’s Wildcat, Look Into My Eyes, Conquest Tiz One, Teelfa, Discreetly Grand, Aunt Nellie, Jet Black Magic, Fancy Madelyn and Platinum Lady completed the running order. Wind Chill Factor was scratched.

Troy Collins’ Ivana’s Wish ($41.60, $13.60 and $8.40) found the front with ease and was never headed en route to a 1½-length upset win in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie. Ridden by Florent Geroux through splits of 21.91 and 45.51, the juvenile daughter of Custom for Carlos completed the six-furlong trip in 1:11.89 for trainer Allen Landry. The win was her second in four career starts and the $60,000 winner’s purse elevated her career bankroll to $80,100.

“It worked out good,” Geroux said. “The trainer told me that last time she broke a bit flat footed and made a middle move and it was not the best setup for her. She broke very sharply and I was able to take the lead pretty easily.”

Marble Farms LLC’s Our Millie ($3.40 and $2.60) tracked the pace under Alexander Castillo but could not reach the winner for trainer Joseph Foster, with Bobby Salome’s Charles Hukill-trained Chases Dixie Belle ($3.80) another length back in third under Colby Hernandez.

Moonlightnmidnight, P Boo, Jazz Lady, Naughty Little Nun and Alyssa Rocks completed the running order.

Maggi Moss’ Watch My Smoke ($8.20, $3.20 and $2.80) settled outside and just off the speed before confronting the leaders turning for home en route to a 3½-length tally in the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter Stakes, winning said event for the second year in a row. Ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Tom Amoss, the 8-year-old son of Leestown exited an easy win against $25,000 claiming company at Indiana Grand. After tracking the early splits of 23.99, 47.64 and 1:12.73, the big gray edged clear to complete the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.64. The $30,000 winner’s share boosted his career earnings to $441,725 in his 14th win from 51 career starts. Gillian and owner-trainer Kirk Harris’ Sir Genghis ($2.40 and $2.10), sent to post as the 3-5 favorite, set the early tempo under Colby Hernandez but could not hold off Watch My Smoke’s challenge while finishing 3¼ lengths clear of End Zone Athletics’ Karl Broberg trained Heavy On Themister ($2.40) under Robby Albarado.

Rocketringo, Bluegrass Punch and Rock N Sake completed the order of finish.

2016 LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY RESULTS

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY CLASSIC S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $150,000, 3yo/up, 9f (dirt), 1:51.31, track fast.

MOBILE BAY
124, dk b/br c, 4

Lone Star Special–Tranquility Bay, by Out of Place

O–Tigertail Ranch, B–Tigertail Ranch, T– Victor Arceneaux, J–Diego Saenz

 

2–Mageez, 117, b c, 3

Musket Man–Spaseeba, by Spectacular Bid

O–Double Dam Farm LLC, B–James A. Mcgehee Jr., T–Delmar R. Caldwell, J–Mitchell Murrill

 

3–The Pickett Factor, 124, dk b/br g, 4

Gold Tribute–Dynaspice, by Dynaformer

O–Melissa Cantacuzene, B–E. O. Pickett, T–Ralph R. Irwin, J–John Jacinto

 

Margins: 4 3⁄4, 1, 1 1⁄4. Others: Southern Argument, One King’s Man, Sunbean.

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY JUVENILE S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 2yo, 6f (dirt), 1:10.74, track fast.

SAINT’S FAN
122, ch c, 2

Tale of Ekati–Boy Crazy, by Sky Mesa

O–Dallas Stewart, B–Dallas Stewart, T– Dallas Stewart, J–Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.

 

2–Laughingsaintssong, 122, b g, 2

Songandaprayer–Laughing Saint, by Vindication

O–Rodney J. Verret, B–J. E. Jumonville Jr. & Bunny Jumonville, T–Allen Landry, J–Florent Geroux

 

3–Jack Snipe’s, 122, b g, 2

Half Ours–Rhodelia, by Silver Deputy

O–Drown, Jeff and Scherer, Gary M., B–Clear Creek Stud Llc, T–Gary M. Scherer, J– Donnie J. Meche

 

Margins: 2, 21⁄2, 51⁄4. Others: Philly, Street Honor, Imindycatbirdseat, Just Due, Stormin Afleet, Run Away

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY LADIES S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 3yo/up, f/m, 8.5f (dirt), 1:45.08, track fast.

BIG WORLD
115, b f, 3

Custom for Carlos–Tensas Wedding Joy, by Broken Vow

O–Maggi Moss, B–Curt Leake & Elm Tree Farm , LLC, T–Thomas M. Amoss, J–Flo- rent Geroux

 

2–Forest Lake, 118, b f, 4

Forestry–Oval, by Kris S.

O–Set-Hut LLC, B–Jake Delhomme & Set-Hut, LLC, T–Jerry Delhomme, J–Hector M. Santiago

 

3–Pacific Pink, 118, dk b/br f, 4

Private Vow–Truly Romantic, by Robyn Dancer O–Keith Plaisance, B–Brandon Adcock, T–Edward J. Johnston, J–Robby Albarado

 

Margins: neck, 5, 111⁄2. Others: Heatseeker Sharon, Seaside Candy, Kinky Vow.

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY LADIES SPRINT S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 3yo/up, f/m, 6f (dirt), 1:09.89, track fast.

WHEATFIELD
120, dk b/br f, 4

Lone Star Special–Thistle Bear, by Gators N Bears

O–Tigertail Ranch, B–Tigertail Ranch, T– Danny Pish, J–Diego Saenz

 

2–Sunny Oak, 118, ch f, 3.

Giant Oak–Heckuva Time, by Gilded Time

O–Keith Plaisance, B–Jeff Wahman & Darlene Wahman, T–Edward J. Johnston, J–Miguel Mena

 

3–Illussion Artist, 117, dk b/br f, 3

Drosselmeyer–Art of Illusion, by Forest Wildcat

O–Steve Landers Racing LLC, B–4 M Ranch, T–Brad H. Cox, J–Robby Albarado

 

Margins: 3 3⁄4, 2 3⁄4, 2 1⁄4. Others: Ramona’s Wildcat, Look Into My Eyes, Conquest Tiz One, Teelfa, Discreetly Grand, Aunt Nellie, Jet Black Magic, Fancy Madelyn, Platinum Lady. Scratched: Wind Chill Factor.

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY LASSIE S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 2yo, f, 6f (dirt), 1:11.89, track fast.

IVANA’S WISH
122, ch f, 2

Custom for Carlos–Stellar Vision, by Pollard’s Vision

O–Troy Collins, B–BCS Thoroughbreds LLC, T–Allen Landry, J–Florent Geroux

 

2–Our Millie, 122, dk b/br f, 2

Half Ours–Magic Madam, by You and I

O–Marble Farms LLC, B–Barbara V. Rowell, T–Joseph M. Foster, J–Alexander Castillo

 

3–Chases Dixie Belle, 122, b f, 2……… $11,000

My Pal Charlie–Theheartofdixie, by Crafty Prospector

O–Bobby Salome, B–Michael Villar & Cynthia Villar, T–Charles P. Hukill, J–Colby J. Hernandez

 

Margins: 11⁄2, 1, 3⁄4. Others: Moonlightnmidnight, P Boo, Jazz Lady, Naughty Little Nun, Alyssa Rocks.

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY SPRINT S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 3yo/up, 6f (dirt), 1:10.60, track fast.

MY FRIEND FLAVIN
118, b g, 4

Forestry–Geiger Geisha, by Geiger Counter

O–Robbins Family Racing, B–Kara Gael Baggett & Val C. Murrell, T–Leo G. Gabriel, Jr., J–Robby Albarado

 

2–Jockamo’s Song, 118, gr/ro g, 4

Half Ours–Miss Clairnette, by Trophy Hunter

O–Dare to Dream Stable LLC (Michael Faber), B–Debbie Allen & David Allen, T–Michael Stidham, J–Florent Geroux

 

3–Just Kissing Buck, 120, b g, 4

Limehouse–Just Kissing, by Kissin Kris

O–Suzette Necaise, B–Forrest Lanning,

Kelly Turner & Tresa Snow, T–Eduardo Ramirez, J–Diego Saenz

 

Margins: 3⁄4, 3, neck. Others: Nubin Ridge, Grande Basin, Greeley’s Wish, C U Tiger, Chat-tanoogan, John’s Luck, Zendelphian, Too Dim, Smooth- money. Scratched: Hitheredarling.

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY TURF S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $100,000, 3yo/up, a8.5f (turf), 1:43.88, course firm.

HAIL TO THE NILE
122, b g, 5

Pioneerof the Nile–Takeaway, by Fly So Free

O–Valene Farms, B–Warren J. Harang III, T–Sturges J. Ducoing, J–Francisco C. Torres

 

2–Fort Pulaski, 115, ch c, 3

Any Given Saturday–Jazznwithcandy, by Jambalaya Jazz

O–Tigertail Ranch, B–Tigertail Ranch, T– Danny Pish, J–Florent Geroux

 

3–String King, 122, b g, 8

Crowned King–String Dancer, by Fly a Kite (IRE)

O–Charles Craig Smith, B–Charlie Smith, T–Charles Craig Smith, J–James Graham

 

Margins: 3⁄4, 1⁄2, 1. Others: Let Us Be Glad, Hot Zapper, Benwill.

 

 

LOUISIANA CHAMPIONS DAY STARTER S.

Fair Grounds, 12/10, $50,000, 3yo/up, 1Mi 70 yds, 1:43.63, track fast

WATCH MY SMOKE
121, g/ro g, 8

Leestown – Starlight Wishes by Carson City

O–Maggi Moss, B–J. Adcock, T–Tom Amoss, J–Florent Geroux

 

2–Sir Ghengis, 122, dkbb g, 5

Tale of the Cat-Staria, bty Unbridled’s Song

O–Harris, Gillian and Kirk L., B–Randel Stutes, T– Kirk Harris,  J–C. J. Hernandez

 

3–Heavy On Themister, 118, ch g, 8

Lion Tamer-Twinwinwin, by Twining

O–End Zone Athletics, Inc., B–T. J. Dickey & Rebecca Farm, T–James E. Hodges, J–R Albarado

 

Margins: 3 1/2, 3 1/4, 2. Others: Rocketringo, Bluegrass Punch, Rock N Sake.

Former NFL QB Jake Delhomme passionate for horse racing. Has two horses running Louisiana Champions Day

That Jake Delhomme’s stable, Set-Hut, has two horses running on Louisiana Champions Day certainly was not lost on others.

Champions Day is a celebration of Louisiana-bred horse racing, of which Delhomme is a staunch advocate. Delhomme, a former backup quarterback with the Saints for six seasons, is involved in horse racing as an owner and on at least two levels concerning breeding, and he also has his hands in training.

His filly, Forest Lake, is the No. 5 horse in the Champions Day Ladies race, one of nine with a $100,000 purse, not including the $150,000 Classic. Another Set-Hut filly, P Boo — which is owned by Delhomme’s father, Jerry — will run in the Lassie.

“The most important thing about Jake is he’s really focused on the Louisiana-bred program,” said Fair Grounds senior director of racing Jason Boulet, who grew up less than a mile from Delhomme in Breaux Bridge. “I’m very happy for him and proud that his horses are running on Champions Day because he’s bred nice horses and bought nice Louisiana breds. So, it’s only right he gets to shine on one of those days, because he really deserves it.”

Delhomme also has been involved in the buying and selling of young horses in Kentucky. However, his horses are bred in Louisiana and run exclusively here. It’s part of his hands-on approach that touches nearly every aspect, he said.

“I just love being at the barn every single day, dealing with the horses,” he said. “It’s great when you have success as an owner, but there’s just something about being there in the morning with them, and when we’re running them to travel with them and be in the backstretch with them.

“We do it all, which for me is the most rewarding thing in the world.”

That is a big part of why Delhomme is excited about Forest Lake. The filly, now 4, was born behind Delhomme’s house. He said their operation trains only about six horses at a time.

He said Forest Lake, which may turn out to be the best horse he’s had, may have a chance in the Ladies. She finished second in the Si Cima Overnight Stakes at the Fair Grounds on Nov. 20, a race won by Seaside Candy, tained by Al Stall. Forest Lake has 4-1 odds in a race that also has Seaside Candy (5-2), Big World, the 2-1 favorite trained by Tom Amoss, and Pacific Pink (3-1).

“It would be fantastic to win (the Ladies),” he said. “(Forest Lake) had given good account of herself every time she runs, for the most part. She’s going to need to bring out her best race Saturday. It’s a tough one.”

Delhomme said he really enjoys breeding because he’s a big believer in numbers, statistics and probabilities. This year, he was selected by the national Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association as its Breeder of the Year in Louisiana.

He he has worked diligently through the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association in an effort to help the state’s horse-breeding industry stay competitive, he said, mainly with New York, Florida and California, after the gold standard, Kentucky.

“We’re in challenging times right now, certainly with the economy, the way it has been and in particular with the oil field,” said Delhomme, who is on the LTBA board of directors and is past president of the organization and a current vice president. “The biggest thing for us as the breeders’ organization is that the foal numbers have dwindled down in our state. We were able to combine two sales companies and have one unified sale, and that looked to be a success.”

Stall said Delhomme has been invaluable for the state’s equine industry, starting with investing his money and time.

“The main thing is, he’s got passion for it,” Stall said. “If you love what you’re doing, you have a tendency to do right things.

“Jake definitely loves horse raising and loves Louisiana breds, and he’s a good ambassador for us.”

Delhomme is a third-generation horseman whose grandfather, Sanders Delhomme, is a legend in Acadiana bush-track and match racing. For him, much of growing up was going to school, playing sports and shoveling manure out of the barns, he said, chuckling.

So after the end of a 15-year NFL career in which he took Carolina to its first Super Bowl after the 2003 season, his first with the team, Delhomme knew what he wanted to do.

“My wife and I are both from Lafayette (area),” he said, “so, there was the lure of family. And, there’s no horse racing in Charlotte, North Carolina. I enjoy working with my brother (trainer Jeff) and dad.”

Delhomme played six years with the Saints — three under coach Mike Ditka and three under Jim Haslett.

“I enjoyed some good times,” he said. “The first time the Saints ever won the division, the first playoff win ever.

“Then, I went to Carolina (in the same division), and I had to hate everything about the Saints, along with Atlanta and Tampa Bay. It was my job.”

Sunbean Chases Star Guitar’s Louisiana Champions Day Record

Having already carved out his own niche as a local legend, Brittlyn Stable’s homebred Sunbean will aim to equal one of the state’s all-time greats when he makes his expected start in the Dec. 10 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Sunbean, winner of the 2013 and 2014 editions of the 1 1/8-miles Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes, looks to join Brittlyn Stable’s other legend, Star Guitar  , as the only three-time victor of the $150,000 marquee event for state-breds. That the 6-year-old Brahms gelding is positioned to notch that feat is an achievement in itself, as he missed last year’s test with an injury that prevented him from racing for 385 days.

Since returning to training, the 15-time stakes winner and seven-time winner over the Fair Grounds dirt has won three stakes, including his last two starts. In his most recent outing Sunbean rallied to earn a half-length win in the Oct. 29 Gold Cup Stakes at Delta Downs, his third triumph in that particular contest.

“He’s doing really well and coming in ready to go,” trainer Ron Faucheux said. “He’s trained as well as he’s ever trained. His numbers and margin of victory aren’t as good as before the layoff, but I’m not sure if it’s that the competition is a little bit better than it used to be, which I think it is.”

The multi-talented Sunbean also captured the Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs and was cross-entered in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes as a ‘Plan B’ should weather become a factor this weekend.

“There was no downside of cross-entering, so I went ahead and did that,” Faucheux said “If it were to rain and come off the turf, a second option carrying less weight is good, but we are pointing to the Classic.”

Sunbean has won 16 of 26 career starts with $1,172,250 in earnings. The 9-5 morning-line favorite will break from post five in the six-horse Classic field.

Challenging Sunbean will be multiple stakes winners The Pickett Factorand Mobile Bay, who finished one-two in last year’s edition of the Classic. Mobile Bay and The Pickett Factor finished second and fifth, respectively, behind Sunbean in the Gold Cup Stakes. Mobile Bay annexed the Louisiana Legends Classic Stakes at Evangeline Downs July 2.

Eleven stakes races for Louisiana-breds worth $1.1 million will be run at Fair Grounds Saturday including the six-furlong, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint headlined by defending race winner Jockamo’s Song and 8-year-old warrior String King seeking a fourth title in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf.

Steve Landers Racing’s undefeated Illussion Artist will be making her stakes debut for trainer Brad Cox in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint at six furlongs. The daughter of Drosselmeyer has posted consecutive victories against open allowance company in Kentucky and will face Louisiana-breds for the first time under jockey Robby Albarado.

Nine 2-year-old colts and geldings were entered in the six-furlong, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, led by owner-trainer Dallas Stewart’s Saint’s Fan. The son of Tale of Ekati   was a powerful victor against open maiden special weight company at Churchill Downs in early November and will face Louisiana-bred company for the first time under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.

Six Scholarships to be Awarded at Louisiana Champions Day

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Louisiana Champions Day will take place on Saturday, December 10, at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, La. The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will award a total of six scholarships, each valued at $1,000, during the event. The races begin at 12:30 p.m., with sign up for the drawings starting at 11:30 a.m. The students must sign up between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the designated registration booth to be entered into the drawing. The registration times were extended to ensure as many students are signed up for the drawing as possible.
 
The drawings will take place after the fifth, sixth, and seventh races, where two scholarships will be awarded after each race. To qualify for the drawing, the student must be enrolled full-time in the Spring 2017 semester, must be in good standing with the college or university, and must be present to win. The student is asked to know the address and name of the college so the scholarship can be directly deposited into their account. 
 
“The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association continues to make an investment in the future of our state by investing in our students and the education process,” said Roger Heitzmann, secretary/treasurer for the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. “This type of investment is for our future, the state, as well as the organization. I hope that these scholarships get the younger generations invested in LTBA, so that our organization stays the top breeding incentive program in the United States.”
  
Louisiana Champion Day Schedule

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association manages the best incentive program for breeding thoroughbreds in the United States. Since the organization formed, this led to increased purses, better quality horses, and increased interest in racing and breeding horses. The industry of racing and breeding generates over $2 billion and employs over 60,000 people in the state of Louisiana. 
 

For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call 1-800-772-1195.

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association Will Award Scholarships at Louisiana Champions Day at The Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots

(New Orleans, La.) – Louisiana Champions Day will take place on Saturday, December 10, at The Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots, New Orleans, La. The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association will award three (3) scholarships, each valued at $1,000, during the event.

The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:

  • Must be a college student enrolled full-time for Spring 2017.
  • Must be in good standing with the college or university.
  • Must be present to win.

Registration: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the designated booth

Races begin: 12:30 p.m.

Drawing time: After the fifth race

The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.

For more information, please call 1-800-772-1195 or visit louisianabred.com.