String King strides home strongly to win the Colonel E. R. Bradley in 2015.
Eight-year-old Louisiana-bred warrior String King will seek a fourth title in the $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf on Saturday when the venerable graded stakes-winning son of Crowned King lines up in post two of eight entrants in the 1 1/16-miles Stall-Wilson turf course fixture at the Fair Grounds.
The Charles C. Smith-bred, -owned and -trained gelding owns a stakes victory in 2016, but it was his lone win in what has been a subpar season by the lofty standards of the 19-time winner from 46 starts. Winner of this event in 2011, 2012 and 2014, he was second by a nose to Ronald Webb’s Hot Zapper in 2015 and was also second in the Classic on dirt in 2013. Last out, he was a charging third in the $ 50,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes to Royce G. Roberts’ Benwill on Nov. 19 and stands to move forward off that effort when James Graham rides from the two-hole.
Jose Mendez-trained Benwill has had a consistent season, racing nearly solely in stakes company, while claiming two stakes victories and placing in two others from seven starts. His hard-fought win last out in the one-mile Mr. Sulu was the 7-year-old son of Leestown’s eighth lifetime victory from 35 starts. John Jacinto has the return call from post five.
Hot Zapper upset the field last year at 21-1 and has gone winless since. Previously with Andy Leggio, Jr., he now races under the care of Nick Leggio and will have the return services of Jose Riquelme from post six.
A newcomer by comparison to most of his rivals, Tigertail Ranch’s Fort Pulaski appears to be a serious threat to win for trainer Danny Pish. The chestnut sophomore son of Any Given Saturday was a game fourth by a length in the Mr. Sulu, his first try on grass and sixth lifetime start. A victor in half his attempts, he has faced some tough foes on the dirt, including multiple graded stakes winner Texas Chrome and the wickedly quick Sharp Azteca. Defending meet champion jockey Florent Geroux picks up the mount from post seven.
Brittlyn Stable’s Ron Faucheux-trained Sunbean (Richard Eramia, post three) and Double Dam Farm’s Delmar Caldwell-trained Mageez (Mitchell Murrill, rail) were each cross-entered in the Turf and Classic and appear to be more likely for the richer main track event.
Let Us Be Glad (David Flores, post four) and Hail to the Nile (Francisco Torres, post eight) complete the field.
A total of 11 stakes races worth $ 1.1 million will be run Saturday. Additional highlights include:
Steve Landers Racing’s undefeated Illussion Artist will make 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.
Keith Plaisance’s recent Happy Ticket Overnight Stakes winner Sunny Oak will look for her third stakes win after capturing the local prep for trainer Eddie Johnston. The daughter of Giant Oak will be ridden again by Miguel Mena, while Tigertail Ranch’s Danny Pish-trained Wheatfield will return to Louisiana-bred company off consecutive runner-up finishes against open stakes groups at Remington Park and Zia Park. Diego Saenz, who guided the daughter of Lone Star Special to a stakes win at Evangeline Downs in July, will pick up the mount.
Platinum Lady, Wind Chill Factor, Discreetly Grand, Jet Black Magic, Ramona’s Wildcat, Fancy Madelyn, Aunt Nellie, Teelfa, Conquest Tiz One and Look Into My Eyes complete the field.
The top four finishers from last month’s Si Cima Overnight Stakes will do battle again in the $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Stewart Madison’s Al Stall Jr.-trained Seaside Candy will look to continue her upward trajectory after scoring in that event in her first try against stakes company. The daughter of Twirling Candy will be ridden again by Colby Hernandez.
Maggi Moss’ Big World and Keith Plaisance’s defending champion Pacific Pink will attempt to turn the tables on Seaside Candy. The former, trained by Tom Amoss, was bumped at the break and failed to pick up as the 3-5 betting favorite in the Si Cima and will be ridden for the first time by Florent Geroux. The latter offered only a modest rally for trainer Eddie Johnston in her first start since February and will look to improve with jockey Robby Albarado taking the call.
Kinky Vow, Heatseeker Sharon and Forest Lake complete the field.
A field of eight 2-year-old fillies was assembled for the $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie at six furlongs on the main track, led by Bobby Salome’s minor stakes winner Chases Dixie Belle. A winner of two of seven starts for trainer Charles Hukill, the daughter of My Pal Charlie will look to bounce back under Colby Hernandez while cutting back to a sprint for the first time since August.
Alyssa Rocks, P Boo, Ivana’s Wish, Moonlightnmidnight, Jazz Lady, Naughty Little Nun and Our Millie round out the field.
Charles Forbes Jr. and Tommy Haus’ Bobby Martinez-trained Open Me a Corona will aim for his 16th lifetime win in his 21st career start when seeking to defend his title in the Grade II $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic for Quarter Horses at 440 yards. His main competition comes in the form of T M Ranch’s Heza Louisiana Dash, a winner of two straight for trainer Kenny Roberts, including a win over Open Me a Corona in November at Evangeline.
Icanonlyemagine, Scooter Prize, Running Game Patriot, Heza Bell Perry, Louisiana Legends, Oak Hill Streak and Jls Dashn and Zoomn complete the field.
Vanessa Bartoo’s Watergirl B will again take on the boys in hopes of landing her second lifetime stakes win in the Grade II $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile for Quarter Horses over 350 yards. The John Stinebaugh-trained filly posted a 42-1 upset in July’s Grade I Lee Berwick Memorial Louisiana Bred Futurity at Delta Downs. Owner-trainer Guadalupe Tristan’s Fired Up Perry will seek his first stakes win after just missing in Grade I company in his most recent start at Evangeline Downs.
Lil Bro Big Streak, Jess a Big Deal, Tellem Im Pumped, One Hot Flame, Blue Eyed Cartel, Hez Kwik, Jrs Coronas Shadow, San Lorenzo Corona, Shatto Stoli and Tf Ms Perrys Runaway complete the field.
Bobby Cox’s Jessa Louisiana Zoom and owner-trainer Michael Taylor’s Jet Black Rouge will renew their rivalry in the Grade II $ 100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Derby at 400 yards. The former, trained by Kenny Roberts, exits a third-place finish in the LQHBA Breeders Derby at Evangeline in November, while the latter was victorious in that event. The pair also met in the Grade III Treme Derby at Fair Grounds in August with Jessa Louisiana Zoom prevailing that afternoon.
Jetz a Streakin, Gone Cartel, Ricky Rockstar, Cute Mic Jagger, Telarosa, Toastin With Coronas, First Corona Down, My Favorite Blue, Jet Black Zoomer and Zoominforgrady complete the field. Blues Favorite Fish is listed as an also-eligible.
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