Brad Cox rolled into the Fair Grounds 2 years back and took consecutive installments of the Louisiana Stakes (G3), a race that is a highlight for older horses running in January. Those two vets, Blended Citizen and Harlan Punch are examples of how Cox’s reach just continues to match the very best that “Graded” company in North America has to offer. There are some other horses running in this year’s 2021 edition.
Now, let’s find out about this field…
#1 Grand Luwegee (Jky: C. Hernandez/Trn: G. Perron):
Last out, Gerard Perron’s Grand Luwegee #1 absolutely shocked Steve Asmussen’s heavily favored Shang in the Classic on LA Champions Day. Those that had the 53-1 shot believed a masterful performance was possible. So, the question is, can he do it again in the LA Stakes? Anything is possible since this is horse racing. However, it seems unlikely with such an experienced field. Posting a Beyer number like that again (104), would mean that this runner has gone from OC30k to big time Stakes action with just 1 race. I like an underdog story as much as the next guy, but…
#2 Captivating Moon (Jky: S. Bridgmohan/Trn: C. Block):
Chris Block goes to the blinks in what is probably one of the most important races of Captivating Moon’s #2 career. I say that because he has come close to winning a “G” race, but never actually accomplished it. If you look over his form, it speaks to highly competitive efforts, but not much in the way of follow thru. Maybe some adjustments are in order. If Block can find them, I think he has a winner on his hands. He should be more than a square price, plus getting Bridgmohan is welcome news. Might be classified as a wise guy.
#3 Silver Prospector (Jky: R. Santana/Trn: S. Asmussen):
Heading into last year’s Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, the expectations were high for Silver Prospector #3. The previous month, he won the Southwest Stakes (G3) for Steve Asmussen. It was not to be, as he finished 6th, 12 lengths back behind Nadal. After another poor showing in the split Arkansas Baffert Derby, the son of Declaration of War went on the bench. When he reemerged at Churchill in an OC80k in Oct it was a resounding victory. The Clark (G1) was supposed to be his Phoenix moment, but he failed to impress. I would like to think that in this spot, with Ricardo Santana up, that the real “Silver P.” could show. But his inconsistency is an issue, and he is going to have to prove the critics wrong. It will not be easy.
#4 Blackberry Wine (Jky: A. Beschizza/Trn: J. Sharp):
I have no earthly idea what trainer Joe Sharp is expecting from Blackberry Wine #4. It seems like he is trying to find the proper position for his runner, and not much is working out. Is this son of Oxbow ready for “G” competition? I am not so sure. Yes, he won a OC17.5k contest over the FG dirt last time, but that was only a 6-horse field. These are way deeper sharks in here, and I doubt Adam Beschizza is going to be able to make a difference. If you cannot score in an ALLW contest, a G3 will be out of reach.
#5 Indimaaj (Jky: J. Talamo/Trn: J. Engler):
Jeff Engler is suffering from the same malady that Joe Sharp was experiencing—classjumpingitis. It happens when you start to look at the purse money associated with a “G” race. Indimaaj #5 is a fine OC25k-32k runner from Florida, but this leap is positively too long. It reminds me of that movie where the ropewalker is trying o head across the Twin Towers… Too far to fall. The “Why Not Take a Shot” Argument comes into play. His trainer does not ship very much compared to others. I suppose chalking this up to a learning experience isn’t a bad idea. Longshot to even hit the board, despite being ridden by Joe T.
#6 Title Ready (Jky: B. Hernandez/Trn: D. Stewart):
If there is a runner in this quality field that has a class edge, it might be Dallas Stewart’s Title Ready #6. Surveying his past foes, you find some powerful adversaries—Vino Rosso, By My Standards, Global Campaign, Bodeexpress, Mr Freeze, and on and on… The kind of recency that he has fought through, makes me think that this is the time to back this 6-yr-old veteran. You know Dallas Stewart will have him primed for this spot. Maybe his first trip to New Orleans will bring him a well-deserved win. Big chance in my book with Brian Hernandez aboard, who has been riding well of late.
#7 My Boy Jack (Jky: G. Saez/Trn: K. Desormeaux):
One of the few remaining members from the Justify 2018 Kentucky Derby. My Boy Jack #7 was converted to a turf horse by trainer Kent Desormeaux back in 2019. Now, he flips him into this spot on the dirt. I honestly do not know what to expect from him. He is obviously talented, but he only ran once in 2020. It was late in the year in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) @DMR at odds of 56/1. This seems like a shot in the dark by his trainer. If Monomoy Stables is involved, the group that also owns Brad Cox’s Monomoy Girl, you know there is sense to be had. However, it could fool even me.
#8 Wells Bayou (Jky: F. Geroux/Trn: B. Cox):
Probably one of the more anticipated starts off the bench for trainer Brad Cox. Wells Bayou #8 last year was the darling of the pre-COVID Derby Trail. It looked like he was slated for a Triple Crown Run after that win in the Grade II Louisiana Derby @FG. Then, after a poor showing in the split Arkansas Derby, he went off the grid. Now, Cox brings him back into this race with hopes for a restart. Clearly, this son of Lookin At Lucky has been working well at Oaklawn. Now, the time has arrived to get back to business. If he is sharp, Cox may well win the day. If not, the door will be wide-open for a longshot to pull off the upset.
#9 Sonneman (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: S. Asmussen):
I recall being impressed with the outing in the Pat Day Mile (G2) by Steve Asmussen’s Sonneman #9. Second behind Rushie in that race was impressive at 26/1. The Curlin colt followed it up with some nice performances at Keeneland, Churchill, and last out in the Tenacious 75k @FG. James Graham is as hot as I have seen him in 5 years. Something lit a fire under his saddle back in Lexington in Oct, and he has been rolling ever since. I actually like this runner more than Silver Prospector #3, the other Asmussen entry. Sneaky good class riser, and will find himself in my exotic wagers for sure.
Join us Saturday for all of our selections! Should be a great set of races from the Fair Grounds!