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Nov 23, 2011

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD- FAIR GROUNDS-RAPID REDUX

By: JOE GIRARDI


               The Fair Grounds got their meeting underway as tradition on Thanksgiving Day, November 24th, 2011. There are a total of 84 racing days with racing being held Thursday-Sunday to start the meeting. In December and January they will run five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday. They will go back to the four days a week for February and March, Thursday to Sunday, with the final day of the meeting coming on April Fools’ Day, Sunday April 1st.

               The Fair Grounds will host the Claiming Crown this year, six races worth a total of $500,000, for the blue collar horse. The following week on December 10th they will host Louisiana Champions Day, a day for Louisiana Breds with over a million dollars in purses given away. The Road to the Triple Crown gets underway on January 21st when they host the Grade III Lecomte Stakes for three year olds run over 1 mile and 70 yards with a purse of $175,000. Just about a month later on February 25th, the Fair Grounds will host the Grade II Risen Star Stakes run over 1 and 1/16th miles and it will carry a purse of $300,000. The biggest day of the meeting will come on April 1st, when they host three graded races with the highlight of the meeting the Grade I Louisiana Derby run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $1 million dollars. The reason for the Louisiana Derby being run on a Sunday is too accommodate the NCAA Final Four which is being held in New Orleans. The semi-final games will be on Saturday with the final coming on Monday April 2nd, so the Louisiana Derby will fit in between. Expect the Fair Grounds to be a major player on the Road to the Derby again next year.

               When going to the windows to bet Fair Grounds let’s remember who topped the jockey and trainer standings last year. Rosie Napravnik became the first woman to win the Fair Grounds jockeys standings last year when she recorded 110 victories from 482 starts. She was easily the top money earning jockey of the meeting and she won their biggest race when she guided PANTS ON FIRE to score in the Louisiana Derby.

               Shaun Bridgmohan finished second with 79 wins but he did have the same winning percentage as Rosie at 23%. Robby Albarado, another top jockey only recorded 19 wins from just 118 mounts, look for him to have a bounce back meeting in what should be a solid race for the jockeys title.

               On the trainers side of things trainer Steve Asmussen got the job done with 46 wins and a winning percentage of 20%. Trainer Tom Amoss finished 13 wins behind with 33 victories but his winning percentage of 23% was just a bit better than Asmussen. There was a tie for third place with 32 wins between Steve Margolis and Michael Stidham, both of whom had better winning percentages than the top two with 29% and 30% respectively. A trainer like Andrew McKeever who only started 33 horses last meeting scored with 11 of them and should be followed closely at what should be another exciting race for top trainer.

               For more information on the Fair Grounds, visit their website at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com             

               A horse that might make it down to the Fair Grounds for the Claiming Crown on December 3rd is RAPID REDUX. RAPID REDUX won his record setting 20th win in row on November 21st, 2011 at Mountaineer Park. Sent off at 1-9 on the board, he was sent right to the lead against a field of three other horses and never looked back scoring by an easy four lengths. He ran his record for the year to 18 for 18 and his career record went to 26 wins from 40 starts. His 20 wins in a row is a modern-day North American record surpassing both the great ZENYATTA and PEPPERS PRIDE. The record for wins in one year was set by the great CITATION who had 19 wins in one year. There was talk of possibly running him in the Claiming Crown at the Fair Grounds where he would probably face his toughest field of the year. He would also have to run back quickly and ship down to the Fair Grounds. He was pre-entered for the Claiming Crown and his connections will have to make that decision depending on how he came out of the last race. Over this 20 race win streak dating back to December 2, 2010, RAPID REDUX ran over seven different racetracks, distances ranging from 5 furlongs to 1 and 1/8th miles and tracks from fast to sloppy and everything in between. Obviously, RAPID REDUX is not facing the best competition but to win 20 races in a row, at a myriad of distances, track conditions and racetracks you have to give him a ton of credit. He is a horse that made me stop what I was doing on a Monday night and rooted for him to win with no betting interests involved. He is good for the game and I hope he continues his streak, (as long as he isn’t beating me at the windows.)

              

              



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