Behemah Star expertly guided by J. A. Guerrero scores the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. (Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir)
Fair Grounds Press Release
NEW ORLEANS, La. – After winning the Classic with Touchuponastar earlier in the card, Jake Delhomme’s Set-Hut stepped back into the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots winner’s circle as Mangum surged late through traffic to surprise Bron and Brow in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint.
Finishing 1/2 lengths back, Bron and Brow survived a steward’s review to secure place honors. Trained by Jeff Delhomme, Mangum covered the six furlongs in 1:10.83.
“Jake (brother Delhomme) studied the Form last night,” Jeff said. “And the best numbers he threw were sprinting at Evangeline and Delta, so we took a chance (running in the Sprint) and it worked out. We’ve got the entire family here. Winning big races on a day like this is like a dream come true.”
Winner of the Jacob V. Morreale going 1 mile 70 yards over opening weekend, Mangum was guided by Corey Lanerie in both stakes scores.
“Hats off to the entire team,” Lanerie said. “They had this horse ready. He was a lot better than the last time I rode him. We took a lot of dirt early and I was running out of goggles. We had to find somewhere to go. I was rerouting. We found a hole and luckily, we had the horse to do it. It’s fun when you get there in time because a lot of times you don’t.”
In the mix against a full field of 14, bettors backed Mangum to the tune of 9-2.
With the Sprint score, the rising 3-year-old now boasts a 12-7-1-3 lifetime record totaling $315,360 in purse earnings.
According to Design Behemah Star Shines in Turf
With little early speed signed on for the 33rd running of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, Behemah Star stole to the front ahead of the far turn and turned back Who Took the Money in the final stages to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Trainer Shane Wilson had cross-entered Brittlyn Stable’s son of Star Guitar in the Classic but opted for the Turf.
“This was the total plan,” Wilson said. “We entered in both races. Earlier in the week I got beat on the turf when speed went to the front, and we tried to be tactical, but they didn’t come back to us. I handicapped this race and didn’t see any speed in here, so we decided to go in this spot. (Behemah Star) had run once on the turf and he was forward to run second. We wanted to do something similar again today. It worked out.”
Ridden by jockey Jose Guerrero, Behemah Star pressed the pace through the first two calls and covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.76.
“The plan was to get him out aggressively from the gate,” Guerrero said. “It worked pretty well. I was able to get in a perfect spot behind the inside horse and he slowed down, so I slowed down with him, saving energy, and when we got to the 3/8ths pole he exploded and finished it off in front from there.”
Behemah Star rewarded his backers to the tune of 18-1. With a career record of 19-5-5-4, Behmah Star’s first turf tally upped his bank to $309,821.
Ova Charged Survives Photo for Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint Three-peat
Employing her signature stalking speed, Ova Charged beat Basalt Street by a thin lip to take her third $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint in a row. Stablemate Spirited Beauty ran third. Together with Behemah Star’s Turf win, Brittlyn Stable added two on the day for a record 17 Louisiana Champions Day victories in 33 years of running
By the ubiquitous stallion Star Guitar, the Shane Wilson trainee ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.67. At 7-5 under jockey Jose Guerrero, Ova Charged has now won 9 times in 12 tries with one place-finish, racking up $428,780 in purses along the way.
Jose Guerrero, jockey of Ladies Sprint winner Ova Charged: “I saw the other horse (Basalt Street) coming but I really wasn’t worried about it, and neither was my horse. She just kept running. She’s so talented and has a big heart.”
Shane Wilson, trainer of Ladies Sprint winner Ova Charged: “She was coming off the layoff and we’re trying to get her ready for this date. We skipped the race opening day because I didn’t think she was ready. Even today, I wanted one more work (going in). We were juggling. We caught the rain last week. I wondered if I should work her and make sure she was fit enough, but we didn’t want to risk it. We hoped her talent and guts would get us there and it worked out. She got a little heavy (tired) at the end, but she got there. If you want to win races in Louisiana, then breed to Star Guitar. He’s had more starters and winners today than any other stallion. If you want to be in these big races, then breed to Star Guitar. The credit goes to Miss Evelyn (Benoit). Instead of standing him in Kentucky she kept him here for the local people, so we have a chance to have horses like this.”
Evelyn Benoit, owner of Ladies Sprint winner Ova Charged: “She was off. She’s been playing. She’s been getting ready. We know on a day like this everybody has their horses ready. It’s Champions Day. I’ve never had 22 horses in one trainer’s barn. I put a lot on Shane and Conner (his son) and they’ve done a great job getting them ready. Star Guitar is breaking records in Louisiana, and I want to keep him right here.”
Free Like a Girl Wires the $100,000 Distaff
Leading the pack of fillies at every call, Gerald Bruno Jr., Chasey Deville Pomier, and Jerry Caroom’s Free Like a Girl proved much the best wiring the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff field on Saturday. Holding off all advances, the 4-yar-old daughter of El Deal rolled down the homestretch as A G’s Charlotte scrambled to get second, a distant 4 3/4 lengths back.
Trainer Chasey Pomier had entered the versatile 4-year-old in both the Distaff and the Sprint, and just like ahead of her score last out in the Doris Hebert, it was a last-minute decision.
With Vicente Del-Cid back in the irons, Free Like a Girl covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.49.
The recently minted millionaire added $60,000 to bump her bankroll to $1,066,578 and her career record to a hard-knocking 32-15-8-4. They knew, making Free Like a Girl the 8-5 favorite.
Vicente Del-Cid, jockey of Distaff winner Free Like a Girl: “Today the filly was feeling good. I tried to wait, but if they’re ready to go, then go.”
Chasey Pomier, trainer and part-owner of Distaff winner Free Like a Girl: “We made the decision to run in the Distaff instead of the Ladies Sprint this morning. It’s what we needed to do for her. We thought about the route race last year but ended up going in the Sprint (second to Ova Charged). She’s matured (since then) and we thought she could go the distance today. Going right to the lead was not in my plan but it worked. I take it race by race. She’s going to tell me when she wants to go.”
Good and Stout Just Good Enough in $100,000 Juvenile
C.J. McMahon’s first win at the meet came on the center stage as he guided Whispering Oaks Farm’s Good and Stout to the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile winner’s circle on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Going 6 furlongs in 1:12.22, the son of Coal Front held off the late rail rally of El Dinero by a nose. Trained by Carol Castille, Good and Stout’s freshman grade card tallies up to 5-2-1-1 along with $101,000 in the piggy bank. Prescient backers were paid $4.80 on each dollar wagered.
C.J. McMahon, jockey of Juvenile winner Good and Stout: “He put us where we needed to be early in the race. Once we turned for home, I was just waiting for an opportunity to split horses or stay on the fence, whatever opened up first. When I asked him, he responded. I thought we had it, but I was riding hard until we finished. Either way, I wasn’t letting up.”
Carrol Castille, trainer of Juvenile winner Good and Stout: “We breed a bunch, but we buy some at the sales too, kind of a mixture of both. He was a nice looking individual. We like him a lot. Got lucky and were able to buy the right one. Louisiana-breds dominate our stable and we like to run at home. This colt has been great from day one. He’s very smart, does everything right and he’s a really nice horse to be around. We had a little misfortune at Delta. That DQ was tough, but it’s horse racing and you just have to roll with it. He showed his talent, and we got some redemption today, that’s all that matters. I think this horse will want to go further. He’s still learning and developing.
Accommodate Eva Flies Late in Lassie
Flying down the center of the track late, Valene Farm’s Accommodate Eva nailed Clearly a Test to win the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie by 3/4 lengths. After routing in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, trainer Dallas Stewart’s decision to cut back the freshman daughter proved wise.
Under Brian Hernandez Jr., Accommodate Eva was sent postward at 4-1 and covered the six furlongs in 1:11.98. With a 6-2-0-1 record, the daughter of Munnings, maiden win came at Keeneland against open company. Accommodate Eva’s freshman earnings tally $126,230.
Dallas Stewart, trainer of Lassie winner Accommodate Eva: “I love the filly. She trains great all the time. Murray Valene picked her out as a yearling. We think she’s got everything in front of her, we think she’ll be a two-turn horse, and she’s going to be very nice.”
The racing week at Fair Grounds concludes on Sunday with a 9-race card. First post is 12:45 p.m. Central. Scheduled for December 23, Road to the Derby Kickoff Day is on the horizon.