Thursday, December 18, 2014

STAKES ADVANCES: Sugar Bowl & Letellier


1751 Gentilly Blvd.,   New Orleans, LA 70119




Contact: Michael Adolphson, Staff Writer, 504.948.1255,




NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, December 18, 2014) – A classic theme of quality over quantity coats this year’s edition of the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes – a race won in the past by the quality likes of Clever Trick, Archarcharch, Littlexpectations and last year by Albano – in what could be a preview of the major Fair Grounds sophomore stakes – including the Grade II $750,000 Louisiana Derby.  Last year, Albano used a victory in the Sugar Bowl to launch himself into a 2014 season that earned him nearly a half-million dollars, a graded stakes victory and a second to eventual Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern in the Grade I Haskell Invitational.


This year, all eyes in the five-horse field will be on the established quality of two juveniles with stakes experience – William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Cinco Charlie and Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Control Stake. 


The seasoned Cinco Charlie already has seven starts, including a victory last out in the $100,000 James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel Park in which he closed his final quarter of the six-furlong event in a shade under 24 seconds.  Already a graded stakes winner for trainer Steve Asmussen when taking the Grade III Bashford Manor Stakes in June, the genetic three-quarter brother to the wickedly fast Bwana Charlie also placed in two other graded stakes.  This evidential class would make the son of Indian Charlie an overwhelming favorite when he breaks from post five under Robby Albarado, but such might not be the case. 


Post time favoritism could easily go to Control Stake, who hails from the barn of meet-leading trainer Tom Amoss – who is batting 43% at the New Orleans oval – and will have the riding services of meet-leading jockey James Graham.  Last out, the son of Discreetly Mine was less than discreet when manhandling a field of 2-year-old winners by 8¼ lengths while also being eased up in the final strides.  An $85,000 Ocala August purchase, the Florida-bred did not disgrace himself in his lone two-turn try when second in the one-mile $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes on Oct. 25 at Delta Downs.  A successful endeavor while staying at the six-furlongs of his allowance victory on Saturday could set him up well for another crack at two turns in January’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes.  Control Stake was assigned post two.


Three stakes-placed colts round out the Sugar Bowl field.  Quintin Holtz’s Texas-based Smudge ships in from Sam Houston for the Sarah Delany barn and receives the riding services of leading apprentice Andre Ramgeet from the rail post.  In seven starts, the son of Behindatthebar has hit the board in three stakes – including a third-place finish in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile on Aug. 2.  Delany also brings in Plaska, whom she also owns.  Second two starts back in the $55,000 Governor’s Cup at Zia Park, the son of Intimidator breaks from post four under Chris Rosier.


Lastly, and perhaps the most intriguing entrant, is Holmark Stables IV’s Bourbon Cowboy.  Second in the $100,000 Fitz Dixon, Jr. Memorial Juvenile at Presque Isle Downs two starts back and fourth in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity before that, the compact colt makes his first start on dirt from post three under Miguel Mena.  The Richie Scherer trainee has been training very well over the local surface – including a bullet three-furlong breeze in :35.80 on Nov. 22 – inspiring his connections to take a chance in the Sugar Bowl before eventually focusing on two-turn grass races for the son of turf miler Cowboy Cal.


PROMISE ME SILVER GOES AFTER THIRD STAKES IN LETELLIER – Trainer Bret Calhoun has been a roll recently with juvenile fillies – including a one-two finish in Sunday’s $100,000 Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park – and he hopes to carry that momentum into Saturday’s $50,000 Letellier Memorial with Robert Luttrell’s Promise Me Silver.  A Texas homebred daughter of promising young stallion Silver City (also a Calhoun trainee), the gray 2-year-old returned from a five-month layoff to be win Retama Park’s $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes on Nov. 15.  In June, Promise Me Silver won the Listed $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs following a runaway debut maiden victory at Lone Star Park in May.  Robby Albarado rides from post two.


Promise Me Silver has five competitors, but none look as formidable as Glenmare Farm’s I’m a Looker and Midwest Thoroughbreds’ True to You.  From the barn of Patrick Dupuy, I’m a Looker was a quick winner of a five-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs before running second in a six-furlong allowance to stakes-placed Dale Romans trainee Taylor S on Nov. 29.  The swift daughter of Henny Hughes will have the services of Brian Hernandez, Jr., from post three.


Tom Amoss trainee True to You has been well thought of since her fine debut win in a turf sprint at Indiana Grand in August.  Subsequently placed in graded company in two consecutive stakes – one on dirt and the other turf – the daughter of Scat Daddy retreated into a six-furlong allowance back at Indiana Grand and won with authority.  James Graham picks up the mount on the expected stalker and will ride from the outside post six.


The Letellier field is completed by Naveed Chowhan’s maiden claiming winner Jugni (Miguel Mena, rail), James Miller’s maiden Carolina Jasmine (Florent Geroux, post four) and Sharon Foley’s allowance winner Guessed Right (Marcelino Pedroza, post five).


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Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 11 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 143rd Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 102nd running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 2014 through March 2015. More information can be found online at




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