Saturday, January 24, 2015

Barn Notes: January 24, 2015


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Barn Notes:  Saturday, January 24, 2015                                                                                       

·        Another Lemon Drop Deserves Another Try

·        Departing Returns to Training

·        Broberg High on A M Milky Way

·        Shook Up and Eden Grey’s Kitten Look for Repeat Romps Monday




            Highly impressive Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots allowance winner Another Lemon Drop has exited his game fourth-place finish in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 17 in good shape, according to trainer Phil Bauer.  Owned by Rigney Racing, the son of Lemon Drop Kid finished out of the money for the first time in five career starts in the Lecomte, but did not disgrace himself while making a sharp inside move around the turn and finishing five lengths behind Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s graded stakes-winning Breeders’ Cup also-ran International Star.


            “He came from the 10-hole and was maybe too close, but that’s not really an excuse,” Bauer said.  “(Jockey) Calvin (Borel) was happy on the backside and when he made a run we thought we could win it – but he flattened out.  He’s never done that.  He did show us he could compete with those horses and deserves another shot.  I still feel like he didn’t disappoint us, even though we really wanted to be top-three.”


            Previous to the Lecomte, the leggy dark bay broke his maiden over the Keeneland grass, was third in a Churchill Downs allowance to subsequent Grade I winner Dortmund and romped by a widening five lengths in a Fair Grounds allowance over a sealed sloppy surface.


“He came out in good shape and we’ll point for the Risen Star,” Bauer continued.  “There’s also the ($60,000 Black Gold Stakes) at seven and a half furongs on the grass as a backup option.  It’s horseracing – you never know what will happen.”




            Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred multiple graded stakes winner Departing has returned to the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots barn of trainer Al Stall, Jr. and commenced preparations for a 5-year-old campaign.  Last seen finishing a dull seventh – in the Grade I $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs – an outlier in an otherwise very consistent career of 12 top-four finishes in 15 races, the gelded son of War Front has four stakes wins (three graded) to his name.


            According to assistant trainer Pam Fitzgerald, the bay charge has been going to the track daily, but has yet to begin serious work.  Though he only won once in 2014, Departing did not disgrace himself throughout the year, placing in three stakes – including the Grade I $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill in June.  As a sophomore in 2013, he won the Illinois, West Virginia and Super Derbies after finishing third in the Louisiana version.



            Trainer Karl Broberg’s belief in David Davis’ A M Milky Way got its due last Saturday when the Texas-bred, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots-based son of Elusive Bluff won his first career stakes in his fourth start.  Always contentious, the 3-year-old bay gelding impressively out-gamed his $50,000 Groovy Stakes rivals en route to a 1 ¼-length score in a good 1:11.05. 


“He went faster than the older horses in a stakes that day,” Broberg said.  “That says a lot about the kind of horse he is.  Right now he’s doing fine and is back at the Fair Grounds.  (The Groovy) was actually our ultimate goal, so at this point we’re uncommitted.”


Previous to his first blacktype acquisition, the homebred debuted with a sharp second at 22-1 odds in a muddy Fair Grounds maiden – defeating Fox Hill Farm’s impressive next-out winner Exodus by 1¾ lengths.  He followed that up with a victory at the same trip to break his maiden three weeks later and then was a badly beaten fifth 19 days later in an allowance after a poor break, steadying early and going five-wide on the turn.




            Monday’s card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots features the returns of two of the most dominant winners of the meet in two allowance races.  Regis Racing’s Steve Asmussen-trained Shook Up returns after a 13½-length smashing of five other sophomore fillies in a one-mile and 70-yard maiden on Jan. 3, while Whispering Oaks Farm’s Steve Flint-trained Eden Grey’s Kitten comes back off a 10¼-length drubbing of eight other Louisiana-bred 5½-furlong turf sprinters on New Year’s Day.


Shook Up is entered in a first level allowance at the same distance as her maiden win and has drawn the rail in a field that also includes stakes fillies Lovely Maria and I’m a Looker.  The former, owned by Brereton C. Jones and trained by Larry Jones, was pulled from consideration for the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes – which was ultimately won by stablemate I’m a Chatterbox – in favor of this spot.  Fourth last out after a rough trip in the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park over a two-turn mile and breaking from the outside 11-post, she has every right to give expected favorite Shook Up a tussle. 


            Glenmare Farm’s Pat Dupuy-trained I’m a Looker, on the other hand, was off very slowly in the $50,000 Letellier Memorial Stakes on Dec. 20 and will be making her two-turn debut.  A tall Henny Hughes filly with a lot of stamina on her female side, she should enjoy the increase in real estate.  Still, she will have to have her running shoes on to defeat Shook Up – a regally bred daughter of Tapit and Grade I winner Sugar Shake who earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure in her maiden win (the highest two-turn number of any sophomore filly in America thus far in 2015).  The race goes as the eighth on a nine-race card with a 4:54 p.m. post time.


            Race seven (4:24 p.m.) will be the second appearance of Eden Grey’s Kitten, a Pelican State-bred son of Kitten’s Joy from the female family of Travers winner Corporate Report.  After breaking alertly under James Graham last out, he manhandled his fellow statebreds en route to a 77 Beyer Speed Figure and now stretches out to two turns. 


The one-mile distance should be of little issue for the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first-level statebred event, but the chestnut gelding may get a fight from Ballybrit Stable’s Mike Dini-trained Gallery.  Third in an October open maiden over a good Keeneland turf course, the son of Munnings returned to easily win a state-bred maiden on Jan. 9 by four lengths under Florent Geroux.  Said Frenchman has the return call when the 5-2 morning line second choice breaks from the outside post nine.  




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