By Warren Eves
Day two of the winter Fairgrounds meet produced some notable runs.
Bereton Jones‘ Keep Talking, favored when sixth as the favorite in his Keeneland debut, made amends in the maiden special weight sixth. Despite veering out at the start the Ghostzapper colt still led in the opening 60. He then sat second outside Hold Me Black, then when spanked in the lane he kicked away.
The main track, for whatever reason, did not produce a lot of quick last fractions. Usually that kind of a surface meets with the approval of the horsemen.
I spent hours reviewing the first two days of racing and you will find my observations in the “Notes scribbled” section below.
Notes scribbled across my official program–In watching replays of day one at the Fairgrounds noted the racing surface was far from glib. For example, in the seasonal opener when #3–Supreme Bean managed to finish a no-threat fourth I disregarded the fairly good effort. The reason is the final 25.83 final fraction is not going to produce much down the road…………Benwill won race four on opening day at the Fairgrounds and actually posted the best final fraction of the program as he came home in 23.17 on the turf. It appeared that Jim Graham gave String King an easy race. Saving ground off the top, easing his mount out and he finished nicely while not really abused…………..I mulled the huge improvement of the maiden claimer My Man Colton in the 10th at the Fairgrounds, but decided he did not deserve to make my “horses to watch” list. The winner Clinger’s Riprap came the final fraction in a poor 27.24. That’s not going to produce a lot of productivity out of the heat……………..Leggy Just Due, an easy winner at six furlongs testing the Fairgrounds for the first time, appears to be a gelding with an up side even though it was restricted to Louisiana-bred non winners of two. He was three wide a good part of the way, drew clear when asked and I liked the way he galloped out…………..I continue to be amazed at the obvious lack of video tape review on the part of many talking heads on the tube when revealing their picks. A case in point would be the subtle third place effort of a first time starter named Tinkerbella, a grey filly from the Steve Asmussen barn. She barely saved third in her racing debut at the Fairgrounds on day 2, but here’s the rest of the story. Tinkerbella got away alertly and was used to be third early on in the maiden special weight 5-1/2 furlong test. Fourth outside one into the turn she was shuffled back to 6th and I gave her a minus 1-1/2 lengths. Veteran David Flores’s left-handed spanking saw Tinkerbella re-group to salvage the show. The debut will not draw much attention unless you do detailed video tape review……………It was great to see former jockey Ray Sibille send out a first time starter Elektracutioner to win easily on day two in New Orleans. She was jostled a bit early, took the lead, was clear and full of run on the turn, and the grey filly held under a brisk ride to the wire…………Michael Maker’s Trust Factor proved that 11.88 final fraction on Indiana turf was no fluke by winning right back testing the Fairgrounds turf course on day two. He stalked the leader in hand, then once in straight responded to left-hand urging by Jim Graham to win clear. Liked the gallop out after the wire, so who knows what the future may hold for Trust Factor a son of Paddy O’Prado owned by Scrivener Stables………………Watched the ninth and final race on day two at the Fairgrounds over and over. It was won by Albert Stall’s first time starter Sharp Henny. I’m in a quandary. The leggy filly, bred in Louisiana by Joe Agular, did everything professionally. She broke straight and true from the gate. She was between foes early, took a short lead outside one into the turn, then once in the long stretch she won clear. The last fraction of 6.70 was OK considering the Fairgrounds surface was played on the dull side the first two days, but I just can’t put a finger on it. Another first time starter Red La Rosa wound up third. She was badly outrun early and far back to the top. Red La Rosa, however, did find her best stride late and made a huge late gain for the show in the maiden special weight race. Sometimes, despite having reviewed literally hundreds of thousands races, we are not left with a good read. This contest would fall in that category………….Clocker Toby Turrell is on hand from California to work the Fairgrounds meeting.