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Y@ Speak: Give it up for Lent

Here it is: let's give a great big Y@ Speak welcome to our friend Lent. Give it up, people.…

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Po-boys po-boys, read all about 'em

Beer and po-boys are a matchless combination, and so, it would seem, are books about both.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m. Maple Street Book Shop hosts a book signing replete with local sustenance, both edible and intellectual, with Michael Murphy on hand to sign and discuss Eat Dat, a guide to New Orleans food culture, and Jeremy Labadie and Argyle Wolf-Knapp around to talk about their new book, New Orleans Beer: A Hoppy History of Big Easy Brewing.

The book shop will serve Killer Poboys and beer from local breweries to get the conversation going.…

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Gambit's Digital Edition, March 11, 2014

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Yvonne Alciatore Blount, Merry Mac of 1955

MARCH ALUMNAE SPOTLIGHT Yvonne Alciatore Blount, Merry Mac of 1955 In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? Ursuline gave me a well-rounded education from any standpoint.  My first career was raising seven children.  It was a delightful job, but very little financial remuneration. My second career was being a travel agent [...]
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Toddler Parade!

Elementary students enjoyed a special day with their grandparents on February 28. After breakfast and Mass, everyone headed to the courtyard for the annual early childhood Mardi Gras parade. What a fun day!
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Congratulations to Science Fair Winners

HIGH SCHOOL Congratulations to senior Anam Ismail who competed in the 58th Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair.  Anam’s project, “Organic Termite Termination,” earned 3rd place in the Environmental Management Division.  Additionally, Anam earned a 1st place special award sponsored by the Sierra Club. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Congratulations to seventh graders Isabel Frey Ribeiro and Alexandra [...]
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1st-4th Art Classes Create 3-D Cities

Elementary School Art Teacher Kourtney Keller created the “Mini City Project” to encourage first through fourth grade students to think three-dimensionally and functionally while using a medium other than clay. The classes discussed the basic structure of a town and the kinds of buildings were necessary for a town to function. They sketched ideas in [...]
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4th Grade Biography Project

Ursuline fourth grade students recently read a biography on someone they found interesting, wrote a report, and then, dressed as their character, made a presentation to the class. Pictured (on the floor, from left) are Kaia Pobocik as Dominique Moceanu, Molly Chase as Gabby Douglas, (front row) Mia Pardue as Mahalia Jackson, Grace Gorman as [...]
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Ursuline Update

Message from the Academy President – Karen McNay Yesterday, we dedicated the Pat Taylor Softball Field, the final piece of our Ursuline Fitness and Wellness Center. Pat’s family and friends joined us to honor a true “Ursuline Girl” and her service to the Academy as well as the young people in New Orleans. Miss Taylor’s years [...]
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High School Mother Daughter Luncheon

Ursuline Academy High School Mother Daughter Luncheon Sunday, March 23, 2014 Mass, 9:30 a.m. National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Luncheon, 11 a.m. Audubon Tea Room 6500 Magazine Street French Toast Breakfast $40 /person Sunday Attire RSVP by March 12, 2014 to the High School Office Honoring the Class of 2014 Photos | Fashion Show | Raffle View the RSVP card.
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Softball Wins 10-0 in the First Game on the Newly-dedicated Pat Taylor Softball Field

February 24, 2014 Ursuline Academy’s softball team defeated De La Salle 10-0 in the first-ever game played on the Pat Taylor Softball Field. The field was dedicated just before the start of the game. Members of the Ursuline High School Women’s Chorus sang the National Anthem followed by a prayer by Sr. Mary Ann Holmes, Ursuline Prioress. [...]
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Stakes Recap: Mardi Gras Stakes

Martin Racing and Morgan Thoroughbred’s Cozze Up Lady played the role of the closing lady in Tuesday’s $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, going from last to first with a powerful stretch run that saw her get up in the last jump to best William Heffner’s Saturday Nthe Park by a nose at the wire.

Trained by Bret Calhoun and ridden patiently by Fair Grounds leading rider Rosie Napravnik, who were both registering their second wins of the afternoon, the 5-year-old Cozzene mare overcame her presumed preference for the grass in the race that was taken off the Stall-Wilson turf course and run on the sloppy main track to register mutuels of $12.40, $6 and $3.40 while recording a final time of 1:05.10 for the 5 ½ furlongs.

“She was standing like a statue in the gate and I was trying to get her ready to break,” said Napravnik.  “She just walked out of the gate and wasn’t picking up her feet, so I thought she just wasn’t going to run today.  But once I got her switched out in the stretch and she stopped taking dirt in her face, she really came running.”

The winner increased her career earnings to $286,431 while recording her sixth lifetime win from 12 trips to the post.

Saturday Nthe Park, who made the pace with splits of 22.13 and 45.39, continued courageously between Richard Klein and Bertram Klein’s favored Good Deed and Dream Walkin’ Farms’ Seeking Ms Shelley to save the place, paying $11 and $4.80 while finishing a neck to the good of Good Deed, who returned $3.20.

Brereton Jones’s Same Cross, void of early foot,rallied late to get fourth.

Racing resumes Wednesday at Fair Grounds with a first post of 1:25 p.m.

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Las Vegas Horseplayer Strikes Gold With $463,219 Black Gold 5 Score

Jack Ninio, a 51-year old horseplayer from Las Vegas, has been playing the races for more than 30 years since being introduced to the sport in college while attending the University of Arizona, and his experience and persistence paid off in the biggest of ways Saturday at Fair Grounds when he held the lone winning ticket in the Black Gold 5, earning him a hefty payday of $463,219.

“When I was at school in Arizona, I was at a fraternity pledge meeting, and I heard someone talk about how a player had won a Pick-6 at the Tucson Dog Park for $17,000,” Ninio told Fair Grounds publicity. “I started playing the races and have been playing horses for a long time and feel very happy – very excited. That was a life-changing score for me.”


Fair Grounds has been one of his favorite wagering spots for some time. He explained, “I love this game more than I can articulate to you, and I think the racing at Fair Grounds is so far superior to so many other circuits. I’m a West Coast guy, but the fields are almost always big down there, and it’s just such a great product – Rosie [Napravnik] is out there along with so many other great jockeys, there are great stakes races, and I am always really impressed with the product.”

He had been following and playing the ever-increasing Black Gold 5 pool “for months,” as the pool that he took down Saturday first started building on December 14, 2013, and had picked his spots based on whether or not he thought the jackpot could possibly pay out.


“There were some days when there were some small fields or lots of favorites that I thought would win, and I would sit those days out, but Saturday’s races looked like the kind of day when there could be just one winning ticket,” he said. “And I saw the first few races in the sequence yesterday and thought there were some vulnerable favorites, so I threw out some horses I thought could get beat, but that I also thought would be used heavily on other players’ tickets.”

Ninio's winning score came on a $1,764 play that did not include the race favorite in the opening leg (Forest Henri, second at 9-5 in Race 5) nor did it include the second-choice in the Black Gold 5’s second leg (Cotton Club Cutie, second at 5-2 in race 6). Those two races kicked off the sequence with upset winners Charlie’s Ring ($17.20) and Pretty Petal ($27.40).


“After those first two legs with some shorter-priced horses I thought could get beat, I went ahead and bought that maiden race [Awesome Houdini, $12.80 in Race 7], and then I used most of them in the next race, throwing out only Hopeful Notion and Purgenality.”

Alvear won that eighth race, paying $21.60, and set him up for the payday of a lifetime if favored Run Freely could win the finale.

“I thought the favorite in the last leg had not been disgraced when running for $12,500, and now they were dropping him in for $5,000, and I didn’t think anyone else could pick up their legs to keep up with him,” he wisely assumed, as even-money favorite Run Freely made the lead near the eighth-pole and drew clear under the wire for a 2 ½-length score.

When asked about his overall wagering strategies, Ninio offered “I’m a player who looks for value in carryovers. I will occasionally play win bets, but I’m more of a Pick-4, Pick-5, and Pick-6 player with an eye on carryover pools.”

He repeatedly acknowledged that alongside handicapping acumen, luck plays an important part in taking down the carryover portion of a wager like the Black Gold 5.

“I am so excited to have been able to hit it, but I could have picked those same five winners and still split the pool with someone else who had a great day and managed to find them, too. Any horseplayer who has such an ego to think they’re the greatest in the world for getting lucky on a day like that needs to check their ego. I got lucky Saturday and things worked out my way,” he said, “and I wish there was a wager that would give more people more chances to have a day like this.”

“As happy as I am to have hit this – and I really am very happy and excited to have hit that one in a million chance of what I did yesterday – I would honestly have been just as happy to hit for $100,000 and know that three other people also hit it for $100,000 somehow,” he continued.

“I would love to see an innovative new wager that is sort of similar to current jackpot wagers, but with a twist – something like a Jackpot Pick-7 with a smaller increment that also had a provision to include more mandatory payout days. Say, every time the pool hit $300,000, one half of that pool would continue to carry over as the jackpot pool, but the other half would come out to be the seed money for a one-day mandatory payoff day. That way, you would still have a chance to hit the jackpot on a daily basis and take down the whole thing, but everyone would have a chance to get a big payday on the mandatory payout days. The pools would be massive and more people would have more frequent chances to make really nice scores. That would put more money in the hands of more people and I think that the more big winners there are, the better it is for the game.”

On Saturday, however, Jack Ninio was still perfectly content being forced to settle for being the only winner – with more than 463,000 reasons to be thankful for his good fortune.

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Barn Notes: Sunday, March 2

IN TODAY'S NOTES: FG's Mardi Gras Stakes Tuesday Comes Up Strong; Single Black Gold 5 Ticket Returns $463,219 Saturday; Sunbean Continues to Impress in Saturday's Star Guitar Stakes

This week highlights one of only two Tuesday racing days of the current season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in honor of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras holiday.  However, on the same day that kicks off the last quarter of the local 84-day meeting, the featured 71st running of the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes has come up as one of the most competitive races of the 2013-2014 Crescent City season.

The most obvious aspect of the grass dash for older fillies and mares at about 5 ½ furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course is the rematch between Dream Walkin’ Farms’ seemingly ageless mare Seeking Ms Shelley and Richard and Bertram Klein’s Good Deed, defending champion from last season’s Mardi Gras which was run on the main track.

In their last starts, Seeking Ms Shelley and Good Deed finished first and second respectively – a length and a half apart – in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes on Jan. 4, but during training hours Sunday morning the conditioners of both mares exuded confidence in their charges going into Tuesday’s rematch.

“My mare is doing just super right now,” said trainer Joe Duhon, who has guided the 8-year-old Seeking Miss Shelley to four straight wins, beginning with Oaklawn’s $60,000 Spring Fever Stakes last year and concluding with her Pan Zareta tally.  “She has never been better than she is right now.  She’s doing even better than she was going into the Pan Zareta.”

Jockey Roman Chapa, aboard Seeking Ms Shelley for her last three wins, returns in the irons once again.

Conditioner Steve Margolis, the tutor of Good Deed, predicts an improved race for Good Deed.

“She was just a little fresh in that last race because of her (six-month) layoff,” said Margolis of Good Deed.  “I expect some improvement now that she has that one under her belt.  Also, we’ve got a good post (#3) considering the race has such a big field and I expect that will work to our advantage.”

Regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan will handle the reins on Good Deed once again.

However, both Duhon and Margolis are aware that Tuesday’s Mardi Gras Stakes is more than a two-horse rematch. 

Martin Racing and Morgan Thoroughbreds’ Cozze Up Lady, trained by Bret Calhoun, is quite capable of upsetting the top two.  She’s coming off an eight-month layoff but two years ago she came off a nine-month layoff to reach the winner’s circle once again in her return.  The 5-year-old daughter of top turf sire Cozzene also gets the riding services of Fair Grounds’ three-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik Tuesday.

Starship Duchess, owned and trained by Louie Roussel, has won her last two turf races here on less than firm ground by a combined total of nine lengths, including a 3 ½ length tally sprinting in her most recent start and gets James Graham in the saddle. Brereton Jones’s Same Cross, trained by Larry Jones with Kerwin Clark up, is always dangerous, especially if the Mardi Gras was to be taken off the turf and run on the main track.

SINGLE BLACK GOLD FIVE TICKET RETURNS $463,219 SATURDAY—One lucky ticket holder off-site collected the season’s highest single ticket payoff of $463,219 as the only holder of Saturday’s Black Gold 5 after investing $1,764  on the wager which singled the winner of the final race on the program.

However, that was not the largest Black Gold 5 carryover pool on record.  Last season, on closing day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, there was a mandatory payout on a jackpot carryover pool of $474,420.

The Black Gold 5 is a pick 5 wager at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, but the carryover pool is only paid out when there is a single winning ticket sold.

SUNBEAN WINS AGAIN IN STAR GUITAR STAKES—Brittlyn Stable’s homebred Sunbean galloped home by a less-than-fully-extended 2 ¾-lengths in Saturday’s $60,000 Star Guitar Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Fittingly, Star Guitar, who retired as the largest purse earner of all-time among accredited Louisiana-breds, was also owned and bred by the Brittlyn Stable of Evelyn and Maurice Benoit, and they are also largely responsible for the popular newly-designed Star Guitar Bar on the main floor of the grandstand at Fair Grounds.

“Sunbean continues to impress me,” said his trainer Ron Faucheux on Sunday morning.  “He came out of his race Saturday in good order and I’m extremely satisfied and happy with the way he has run for me.”

What might be next for Sunbean?

“We don’t have a plan right now,” said Faucheux.

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Stakes Recap: Sunbean Shines in Star Guitar Stakes

Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean proved worthy of the fans who backed him down to 3 to 10 favoritism by drawing off late to a less than fully extended 2 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $60,000 Star Guitar Stakes for older accredited Louisiana-breds at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The winner shadowed the two early leaders, challenged outside those in upper stretch, took clear command at the furlong marker and then increased the margin with intermittent urging, returning $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 to his many backers.

“All I got to do (with this horse) is keep him clear,” said Sunbean’s regular rider Richard Eramia, who won the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic with Sunbean earlier this season on Louisiana Champions Day here on Dec. 14.

Glen Warren’s Hud’s Rebellion, victor in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf on that same afternoon, rallied late to be clearly best of the others, finishing 2 ¼ lengths to the good of Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s Populist Politics, who lacked the needed late response.

Hud’s Rebellion paid $3.20 and $2.20 and Populist Politics returned $2.20 to show.

Norman Stables’ Hero Force made the pace with splits of :25.10 and :49.66, but weakened to fourth from the effort.

Diamond Racing et al.’s Johnny Handsome and Pat Jackson’s Easy Strike completed the order of finish.

Sunbean increased his career earnings to $534,900 with his eighth victory from 13 lifetime starts.

“He’s just a real nice horse to train,” said winning trainer Ron Faucheux.  “As long as Mrs. Benoit keeps sending me these good horses that she breeds it makes my job easy.”

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Stakes Advance: Mardi Gras Stakes


Richard and Bertram Klein’s Good Deed, who came off a six-month layoff to run second in the $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Jan. 4, should be well-regarded in the wagering but faces strong competition when she tries for repeat victory against 13 other older fillies and mares in Tuesday’s $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at about 5 ½ furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course at the New Orleans oval.

The March 4 Mardi Gras holiday program serves as one of only two Tuesday racing programs during Fair Grounds’ 84-day 2013-2014 season.

Trained by Steve Margolis, Good Deed is a 5-year-old daughter of Broken Vow who also won Fair Grounds’ Letellier Stakes as a juvenile and Churchill’s Grade III Eight Belles Stakes as a sophomore.  She will be ridden by once again by Shaun Bridgmohan who has been aboard for her last three wins.

Dream Walkin’ Farms’ Seeking Ms Shelley, who bested Good Deed in the Pan Zareta, may be the one beat once although she picks up four pounds from their last meeting.  She has, however, won her last four races under the guidance of conditioner Joe Duhon.  Roman Chapa returns in the irons.

Brereton Jones’s Same Cross, closely related to 2008 Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell, was second by a nose in Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Happy Ticket Feb. 1 and is an always dangerous Larry Jones trainee who won back-to-back races here last season.  Kerwin Clark will be aboard.

Starship Duchess, owned and trained by Louie Roussel III, is coming off of two straight turf tallies over less than firm going and merits some consideration with jockey James Graham up.

Martin Racing et al.’s Cozze Up Lady, a winner of her last two including Arlington’s Grade III Chicago Handicap in her last start Jun. 29, has Rosie Napravnik in the saddle, is trained by Bret Calhoun and merits some consideration despite her long layoff.

Completing the Mardi Gras field is William Hefner’s Saturday nthe Park, Robby Albarado; AJ Suited Racing Stable’s Mosaicist, Florent Geroux; Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Ire, Miguel Mena; Gainesway Stable et al.’s Los Ojitos, Marcelino Pedroza; Steven Petit’s Ms Hoochie Coochie, Leandro Goncalves; Dallas May’s Feisty Flirt, Chris Landeros; Katierich Stables’ Fantasy of Flight, Richard Eramia; J. J. K. Thoroughbreds’ Point to the Wild, Brian Hernandez Jr; and William Heffner’s Malibu Holiday, Mark Guidry.

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Barn Notes: Thursday, February 27

IN TODAY'S NOTES: Phat Day First Horse This Season to Get Four Wins; Rise Up, Grand Contender Both Doing Well Following Saturday Efforts; Fair Grounds Cancels March 10 Louisiana Derby Golf Tournament; Fair Grounds' New Star Guitar Bar Spotlights Sunbean's Ownership

When Maggi Moss’s Phat Day cruised home a 4 ½-length winner on the eve of last weekend’s Louisiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the 7-year-old chestnut gelding became the first horse this season to register four wins at the local meeting.

Actually, Phat Day has now won five straight races with his streak beginning Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs, but locally it began on opening day Nov. 22 with a length and a half win in an optional $10,000 claiming event at 5 ½ furlongs.  On Jan. 3 the son of Five Star Day out of the mare Japanese Money won again going 5 ½ furlongs by a 4 ¾-length margin, and then again by a length and a half going six furlongs on Jan. 30.

Conditioned by 10-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss, Phat Day has had three-time Fair Grounds defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik aboard for all four of Phat Day’s local scores, and interestingly, that’s the same win margin she enjoyedas this season’s current leading jockey over current runner-up rider James Graham entering Thursday’s program.

However, Phat Day’s local win streak has also left Tom Amoss with something of a dilemma.

“Obviously, not many people are going to want to continue to run their horses against him in that (optional claiming) series,” Amoss said, “so I think we’re going to have to take some chances with him and raise him up a little bit in class for his next race.   Still, he’s been a very nice horse for us since we claimed him last fall.”

RISE UP, GRAND CONTENDER BOTH DOING WELL FOLLOWING SATURDAY EFFORTS—Paul and Andrena Van Doren’s Rise Up, seventh in last Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes, and Maggi Moss’s Grand Contender, runner-up in the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap, both came out of their respective efforts on Louisiana Derby Preview Day in good order, according to trainer Tom Amoss.  However, the conditioner has not decided on definite future plans for either one of those two stakes campaigners.

“Rise Up came out of the Risen Star in good shape,” said Amoss of the Grade III Delta Jackpot winner, “but we didn’t learn a lot about him because he didn’t break well.  His race was over as soon as he left the gate.

 “I have no idea why he didn’t break well, but now we’re kind of painted into a corner with him,” said Amoss.  “We’ll look around to see what kind of stakes we might find for him.  The (Grade II) Louisiana Derby is certainly a possibility for his next start, but it’s not the only race we’ll be looking at.

“As for Grand Contender, we think a mile and a sixteenth might be just a little bit farther than he wants to go,” Amoss said of his 6-year-old Strong Contender gelding who also finished second in the 1 1/16-mile $100,000 Louisiana Handicap here on Jan 18,“so there will be no (Grade II) New Orleans Handicap for him.  We’ll look around for something shorter for his next start.”

FAIR GROUNDS CANCELS MARCH 10 GOLF TOURNAMENT —The Louisiana Derby Golf Tournament scheduled for March 10 at the Lakewood Country Club has been canceled because not enough teams signed up to participate, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced.

FAIR GROUNDS NEW STAR GUITAR BAR SPOTLIGHT’S SUNBEAN’S OWNERSHIP—Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean has been installed as the odds-on choice in Saturday’s $60,000 Star Guitar Stakes and it’s not too surprising that Star Guitar, as the top all-time earner among Louisiana-breds,also raced in the Brittlyn silks of Evelyn and Maurice Benoit.

That Louisiana couple has always been known for investing heavily in Louisiana’s breeding industry and also is largely responsible for the decorating of Fair Grounds’ newly-designed Star Guitar Bar that sits just off the Fair Grounds paddock on the main floor of the grandstand at the Crescent City oval.

Sunbean, who won this season’s $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds and was a contestant in last spring’s $1 million Louisiana Derby, has turned out to be a worthy successor to Star Guitar, but has a long way to go to duplicate his predecessor’s earnings.  Star Guitar retired with career earnings of $1,749,862 while Sunbean’s lifetime earnings to date are $498,900.

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Stakes Advance: Star Guitar Stakes

Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean, a winner of his last three straight including a nose tally in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, looms a strong choice when he faces five other older accredited Louisiana-breds in Saturday’s $60,000 Star Guitar Stakes, named for Brittlyn Stable’s champion and richest Louisiana-bred racehorse of all time, Star Guitar.

Trained by Ron Faucheux, the altered son of Brahms most recently captured the $200,000 Premier Championship by four lengths on Feb. 1 at Delta Down after winning the Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds on Dec. 14.  Before that Sunbean took down winning honors in Delta’s $100,000 Gold Cup Nov. 2.

Jockey Richard Eramia, aboard for all of those scores, returns in the irons for Saturday’s Star Guitar at 1 1/16 miles but must carry the high weight of 123 pounds under the allowance conditions of the race.

Glen Warren’s Hud’s Rebellion could be the main source of competition for Sunbean.  The entire son of Ole Rebel won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds on Dec. 14 but is usually equally proficient on the main track.  In his last start he finished a badly beaten sixth behind Sunbean in the Premier Championship but got caught up in a speed duel that night.  During the first half of 2013 when he had five straight starts on the main track, he won three straight times and was second in the other two.

Trained by Andy Leggio Jr, Hud’s Rebellion will have three-time Fair Grounds defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik astride at 121 pounds.

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Populist Politics cannot be discounted in the Star Guitar.  Although he disappointed in the Champions Day Classic here, he was a closing third behind Sunbean in the Delta’s Premier Championship and third in that western Louisiana oval’s Gold Cup.  Before that the Tom Amoss trainee won Evangeline’s $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic last July by a half-length from Hud’s Rebellion.  Leandro Goncalves is slated for the saddle and gets in with 117 pounds.

Pat Jackson’s Easy Strike, trained by Morris Nicks, has won his last two straight here in New Orleans this winter but steps up to stronger competition here under Jamie Theriot while Diamond Racing’s Johnny Handsome and Norman Stables’ Hero Force complete the field.

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Barn Notes: Sunday, February 23

IN TODAY'S NOTES: Risen Star Stakes - The Morning After; Rachel Alexandra Stakes - The Morning After

Starlight Racing and Jack Wolf’s Intense Holiday got up by a nose to win Saturday’s Grade II Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, and on Sunday morning on his way out of town Wolf was looking forward to coming back with wife Laurie for the $1 million Louisiana Derby March 29, especially after dining once at La Petite Grocery and once at Arnaud’s during their brief but highly successful Crescent City sojourn.

“That the ‘game plan’ right now,” said Wolf, speaking of the Louisiana Derby and their presumed second visit to New Orleans at the end of March.  “We talked to (trainer) Todd (Pletcher) about it and he’s on board with it, and we talked to (jockey) Mikey (Smith) and he says he’s open.  Intense Holiday seemed to like the track here.  The long stretch here seemed to suit him, so – the good Lord willing – the horse keeps going like he is, it looks like a good plan.”

Brereton Jones’s Risen Star runner-up Albano will also try again in the Louisiana Derby, trainer Larry Jones said Sunday morning. “He ran a great race yesterday,” said Jones.  “I was very pleased with the way he ran.  He just got beat in the last jump.  I just don’t like this ‘déjà vu’ stopping us all the time.”

Albano is a half-brother to Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski, runner-up by narrow margins in the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby two years ago.

“Albano reminds me so much of Mark,” Jones said.  “He looks just like him and he acts just like him.  I just hope we don’t get the same result in the next round like we did two years ago.”

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble, who won Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes last month and finished third in the Risen Star, 5 ½-lengths behind the top two, also came out of Saturday’s race in good order, despite being handicapped by an outside post position.

“Obviously, (the post position) wasn’t ideal for us,” said Mike Maker’s assistant trainer Joe Sharp Sunday morning, “but I thought our horse ran a good race and he definitely came out of it well and is doing well this morning.  We haven’t decided anything for sure quite yet about his next race.”

Mike Pegram et al.s Hoppertunity, fourth in the Risen Star, also ran a good race and came out of it well.

 “I thought our horse ran a great race,” said Bob Baffert’s assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes Sunday morning, “especially since it was only the third start of his career.  He seemed to like the track here and I think he showed he might be better at a longer distance.” 

The Risen Star was run at 1 1/16-miles, but the upcoming Louisiana Derby will be contested at a mile and an eighth.

RACHEL ALEXANDRA STAKES – THE MORNING AFTER —Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable looked like a winner as soon as the field of sophomore fillies entered the stretch in Saturday’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, and all she did the rest of the way was increase her advantage.

“Yes, we thought she ran a great race,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds’ farm manager David Fiske on Sunday morning, speaking over the phone from the Kentucky farm.  “We were very pleased.” 

As the local oval’s final tune-up for the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks March 29, the next question was whether the handsome daughter of Tapit would remain at Fair Grounds for the local Oaks and put herself in the position to become the sixth Fair Grounds Oaks winner out of the last 10 to go on to victory in the Kentucky Oaks later in this spring on the day before the Kentucky Derby.

“Yes, I would think we’ll be pointing her to the Fair Grounds Oaks,” said Fiske, “assuming everything continues to go right with her between now and then.  In fact, the Fair Grounds Oaks is on March 29, and that’s Ron Winchell’s birthday.”

Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings’ Rachel Alexandra runner-up Got Lucky, trained by Todd Pletcher, also came out of Saturday’s test without problems, according to Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale.  “She was doing fine this morning when she left at about 4 a.m.,” said DePasquale

Connie Apostelos’ Shanon Nicole, third in the Rachel Alexandra, also came out of the race in good order, according to assistant trainer Joe Sharp on Sunday morning.  “I thought our filly ran great, but, of course, Steve’s (trainer Asmussen of Untapable) filly was really impressive.”

Loooch Racing et al.’s Ria Antonia, fourth in the Rachel Alexandra, was also in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to trainer Jeremiah Englehart’s assistant Elizabeth Dobles. 

“She’s fine this morning,” said Dobles.  “I definitely think she needed that race yesterday.  I would certainly hope we’ll be sticking around for the next round with her.”

Would that be in the Fair Grounds Oaks, or a start against the boys in the Louisiana Derby?

“I think they will be making a decision in a couple of days about that,” said Dobles.

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Applications for Honoré Center 2014 Class Now Accepted

Applications are now being accepted for admission into the Honoré Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement, a pilot project of Southern University created to develop the potential among disadvantaged African American males.  The program, now entering its 3rd year on the SUNO campus at New Orleans, was designed to address two important challenges, namely to increase the numbers […]
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