Wrapping Up Weekend Oaks Action

Though they seldom get the attention lavished on their 3-year-old male counterparts at this time of year, the 3-year-old fillies are turning in some impressive performances as they prep for the Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2. An event in and of itself, Oaks Day is much more than the appetizer…

A World Apart, New Derby Starters

In Derbies held half a world apart from each other on Saturday, two horses making their stakes debuts earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3. Over the synthetic surface at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, the Kentucky-bred Toast of New York, racing for English connections, won the UAE…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Louisiana Derby

Fair Grounds: The Grade II, $1 million Louisiana Derby at 1 1/8 miles, by Horseplayer Now’s Brian Nadeau #1 Intense Holiday: The first of two from Pletcher figures to go favored based on his win in the local prep, the GII Risen Star, last month, and with the potential for a hot pace, his closing…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Lecomte

Fair Grounds: The Grade III, $200,000 Lecomte at 1 mile and 70 yards #1 Roman Unbridled: Delta invader ran off with the Big Drama Stakes last time by 8 ½ lengths at 7F’s, but it’s worth noting that is a two-turn race, which gives him a leg up on most in here. Tactical sort wired…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Risen Star

Fair Grounds: The Grade II, $400,000 Risen Star at 1 1/16 miles #1 Proud Strike: Up-and-coming son of Smart Strike sure looked good blasting a pair of repeat winners in his MSW romp over the track and distance last month and seems like a real comer in the division for Asmussen. Tactical sort should be…

Final thoughts on Fair Grounds

I have a new favorite out-of-town track. I really liked Tampa Bay Downs when I was there a year ago, and I still think it’s terrific, but Fair Grounds is Tampa Bay Downs with good food and history, so it’s got the edge. It may be the cleanest race track I’ve ever been to—the place…

Photos from the Fair Grounds

Early in the morning, the empty paddock, being readied for the day… Larry Jones working out one of his horses (check out that sweatshirt!) in the morning… …and saddling one in the afternoon… As seen on NYC OTB channel 71, John Dooley and Jessica Pacheco on the morning handicapping show… And Jessica in the paddock,…

Racing at the Fair Grounds

Happy 2009! I walked home from New Year’s Eve dinner in relatively balmy temperatures in the fifties, wearing just a light jacket, and turned on the television to watch the brave? foolish? insane? revelers back home in New York shivering in single-digit temperatures. Much as I love home, I can’t say that I was sorry…