Camaro Z Turns Extra Gears Into Black Gold

March 2, 2024

Camaro Z Prevails in No Holds Barred Black Gold battle. (Hodges Photography/Jan Brubaker 

“Hammer Time” in the Eddie Johnston as Jack Hammer Dominates

A G’s Charlotte Toys with Red Camela Rivals Adding Fourth Stake to Resume

Fair Grounds Press Release

NEW ORLEANS, La. – In an all-out slugfest down the homestretch, Camaro Z outfought Count Dracula to win the 66th running of $100,000 Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Owned by Terry Stephens, Pravin Patel, and Tagg Team Racing, Camaro Z delivered and overcame multiple blows while battling his outside rival to prevail by a neck.

Trained by Greg Foley, Camaro Z’s pilot was Corey Lanerie. A winner of three races on the day, Lanerie made the traditional walk to Black Gold’s grave in the infield to lay the ceremonial wreath. Descendants of Black Gold’s owner Rosa Hoots were on hand to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of becoming the first Louisiana Derby champion to go on and win the Kentucky Derby.  

With the day’s races taken off the turf, the son of Liam’s Map beat out five 3-year-old peers, going 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.97 over a main track labeled “muddy.” 

“We were good with coming off the turf,” Foley said. “Figured there would be several scratches, shorter field and all that–it worked out. Corey gave him a good ride, there was a little speed in there. Our horse has good tactical speed. I just told (Corey) to let him sit and make his run at the end of the race today.”

Bet down to 7-5 favoritism, Bear River set the pace, going :24.13 and :47.89 through the opening fractions. Count Dracula stalked to the leader’s outside, while Camaro Z rated in third along the rail. Though he failed to match the leaders strides in the far turn, Camaro Z revved up coming into the stretch, muscling off the rail with a bump to engage Count Dracula. The gloves were taken off and each rival laid their hearts on the mat with Camaro Z winning the feisty duel to the wire. 

3/2/2024 - To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Black Gold victories in the Louisiana and Kentucky Derbys, Corey Lanerie places a wreath on Black Gold's grave after winning the 66th running of the Black Gold Stakes aboard Camaro Z at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Black Gold victories in the Louisiana and Kentucky Derbys, Corey Lanerie places a wreath on Black Gold’s grave after winning the 66th running of the Black Gold Stakes aboard Camaro Z at Fair Grounds. (Hodges Photography)

“(Greg Foley) told me that in (Camaro Z’s) last race he thought he got in a speed duel, but that he didn’t need the lead today,” Lanerie said. “The 8 horse (Count Dracula) broke really well, but I went with the 3 (Bear River) and he was happy sitting in third position. When I called on him between the three-eighths and the five-sixteenths, he made me think I didn’t have the horse I needed. But when we got to the quarter pole, the hole got smaller but he got braver and he took me right through.”

Rock’n a Halo kicked late to grab third. Yo Daddy rounded out the superfecta. Bear River faded to fifth and Gorilla Trek ran last throughout. 

“With a trainer like Greg Foley and Corey Lanerie on the mount, there was never a doubt. I felt guilty betting on him,” owner Terry Stephens said. “He gave us a little thrill down the stretch but he prevailed.”

Having broken his maiden on the local turf course, Camaro Z now tallies a career record of 6-2-2-0 with $120,450 in the bank.

Cashing on Camaro Z at the windows returned $11.60, $4.80, and $3.40.

“Hammer Time” in the Eddie Johnston as Jack Hammer Dominates

3/2/2024 - Jack Hammer with jockey Reylu Gutierrez aboard pulls away from the field to win the 44th running of the $100,000 Edward J. Johnston Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir
Jack Hammer drops the mic in the Edward J. Johnston Memorial. (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

Allied Racing Stable’s Jack Hammer dominated the $100,000 Edward J. Johnston Memorial, beating eight older statebred males by 8 1/2 lengths on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Never being menaced by the second-place finisher and 4-5 favorite Behemah Star, the 4-year-old gelding now has a freshman, sophomore, and older stake win on his resume. 

Trained by Bret Calhoun, the son of Jimmy Creed out of Lipstick Junky received the services of his regular pilot Reylu Gutierrez. With the day’s races taken off the turf, Jack Hammer went 1 mile 70 yards in 1:41.67 over a main track labeled “muddy.” 

“That’s always the question: can they develop to the next level against older company?” Gutierrez said. “Bret (Calhoun) and his staff have done a tremendous job. Chester (Thomas, owner) and Bret gave him some time off, and he grew up. Credit to Brett, Janine, Mike and the crew. Jack Hammer has taken a step forward. Bret told me not to mess it up and I guess I didn’t mess it up.”

Calicoco was hustled hard to beat Jack Hammer to the lead out of the gates. Content to track in second, Jack Hammer left Calicoco alone as the front runner traveled through opening fractions of :23.76 and :47.41. After settling in sixth, Behemah Star began to run in the far turn but by then Jack Hammer had blitzed to the front and opened up an insurmountable lead. Wise Verdict ran steadily throughout to maintain third. Jack Hammer’s stablemate Who Took the Money, also owned by Allied Racing Stable, ran late for fourth.

“We were hoping it would be on the turf,” Chester Thomas of Allied Racing said. “We wanted to see how (Jack Hammer) would do on the turf; he’s bred for it. He’s been a real pleasure, very professional, a really cool horse. I want to give Bret and his team a lot of credit. They’ve done a beautiful job. Rey knows the horse well. It was ‘hammer time’ today.”

With an all-or-nothing lifetime record of 8-6-0-0, Jack Hammer added $60,000 winning the Eddie Johnston to bring his bankroll to $291,255. He now has three wins from four tries at the 2023 – 2024 meet.

“He had a little injury that made us give him some time off and he came back really, really well,” Calhoun said. “He’s one of those who went forward and he looks like he might be a better older horse. This horse does have a lot of breeding for the grass and we hope to have options where we can hit both spots.”

Jack Hammer cashed at $7.20, $3.40, and $2.60.

A G’s Charlotte Toys with Red Camela Rivals Adding Fourth Stake to Resume

3/2/2024 - A G's Charlotte with Marcelino aboard wins the 48th running of the Red Camelia Stakes at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir
A G’s Charlotte Toys wasn’t playing around for the victory. (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

Tom Galvin’s homebred A G’s Charlotte toyed with her six statebred rivals before taking over in the homestretch to win the $100,000 Red Camela at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday. Sensing her dominance over the field, the 6-5 favorite shifted from tracking the leader to a fierce stalk, making her run at the eighth pole and drawing away to win by 2 1/2 lengths. 

Trained by Patricia West, the daughter of Mo Tom received the services of Marcelino Pedroza Jr. With the day’s races taken off the turf, A G’s Charlotte went 1 mile 70 yards in 1:44.78 over a main track labeled “muddy.” 

“I wasn’t disappointed that the race was taken off the turf,” West said. “I think she is better on the dirt. It seems like she just keeps getting better with age, so we’ll keep going with her.”

Speedy Dudette gained control of the lead out of the gate set :24.28 and :47:84 opening quarters. A G’s Charlotte dropped to the rail in tracking position as Vale Male stalked the leader. Looking to assert herself, A G’s Charlotte began moving up the rail to split those two forward foes and begin breathing down Speedy Dudette’s throatlatch. Keeping her measured up through the far turn, A G’s Charlotte set down a run and bid past Speedy Dudette at the eighth pole. The front runner was able to hold on for second as Spirited Beauty came charging up the rail late for third.

“Thank you to Patricia West for this mount,” Pedroza said. “It was a perfect trip. I was right where I wanted to be, behind the speed. She took me to the front earlier than I wanted to. I know how she is, she likes a little competition in the end, but it all worked out.”

Three of A G’s Charlotte’s four stakes wins have come at Fair Grounds and she boasts the proud title of having earned West her first career stakes victory in the 2022 Big World Stakes. With a career record of 25-9-8-3, the 5-year-old mare has $458,410 in the bank.

A G’s Charlotte paid $4.60, $3.00, and $2.20.

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