Fort Polk with jockey Emanuel Nieves holds off challengers to win the 47th running of the Red Camelia Stakes at Fair Grounds. (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.)
Fair Grounds News Release
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Patricia and Steve Roe’s Fort Polk overcame the field of eight fillies and mares in the stretch to win the 47th running of the $75,000 Red Camelia Stakes. Finishing less than a length shy of winning last year’s edition, this is the first turf stakes victory for Fort Polk, whose only other stake victory came in the Louisiana Champions Day Distaff on the dirt in 2021. The 7-year-old Louisiana-bred beat seven older fillies and mares by 1/2 length.
Piloted by Emanuel Nieves and trained by Pat Mouton, Fort Polk completed about one mile in 1:42.31 over the “firm” Stall Wilson Turf Course with the rail remaining 34 feet out.
“Everything worked out how we wanted it,” Nieves said. “I got in a good position, avoided traffic, and when I asked her, she was ready to go.”
Flashing speed from her outside draw, Cheapskate Diva fought for the lead in the early going and held it while setting opening fractions of :24.79 and :49.92. While three others chased the front-runner, Fort Polk found midpack position going three-wide, A G’s Charlotte saved ground on the rail behind her, and Wholelottamo kept her eyes on the field from the back. Fort Polk dug in eyeball-to-eyeball with Cheapskate Diva, bid past, and then had to fend off 9-5 favorite A G’s Charlotte’s bid from the rail. Wholelottamo came flying from the back but too late as Fort Polk got the best of the late runners. A G’s Charlotte finished second, Wholelottamo in third, and Cheapskate Diva held on for fourth.
“It’s easier to win tough races like these when you’ve got the horse,” Mouton said. “She’s easy to train, responds well to it, and gives you her best all the time.”
Blessed Anna, Free Like a Girl, and Eve’s Delight completed the order of finish. Winning Romance was scratched after flipping in the paddock prior to the race.
Fort Polk was sent off at 9-2 and returned $11.60, $5.80, and $3.60. She boosted her career record to 41-10-7-11 and earnings to $384,460.
Racing continues at Fair Grounds on Sunday, March 5, with a 1:15 p.m. CT first post. There is a $3,450 carryover in the $1 Pick 6 which begins in Race 3 (15% takeout).
Marcelino Pedroza Jr., jockey of A G’s Charlotte (finished second): “My trip was good. She makes you think you have a ton of horse and gives it to you, and then she’s like ‘eh I don’t know’. But then gives it to you again. In and out, in and out. She has been working so well without the blinkers, maybe that is the key.”