Six $75,000 stakes, several maidens and allowances for up-and-coming 2-year-olds, and the absence of any claiming races should whet the appetite of horseplayers for Fair Grounds‘ 14-race “Santa Super Saturday” program that kicks off at noon (CST).
Here’s a look at the featured events of the day:
$75,000 Letellier Memorial — Race 3
Taraz, the Juddmonte homebred who stylishly captured her debut at Churchill Downs by 7 1/2 lengths on Nov. 14 for trainer Brad Cox, could be the one to beat in this 6-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies. Sweet Kisses, who graduated at Saratoga, shortens up after weakening to fifth going a mile in the Tempted S. at Aqueduct.
The field beefs up if both Ursula and/or Halama wind up here rather than the two-turn allowance that kicks off the card. Ursula cruised to victory by 5 1/4 lengths over this track and trip Nov. 30 for Mike Stidham, while Halama won on debut by two lengths at Churchill on Nov. 9.
$75,000 Bonapaw — Race 7
A solid third to Totally Boss in his stakes debut at Ellis Park in August, Fast Boat enters this about 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint off back-to-back allowance wins in Kentucky and owns a 2-for-3 mark over the Fair Grounds turf.
Grade 3 veteran Made You Look, a former mainstay in the Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown barns, debuts here for Philip Bauer. He possesses plenty of back class, but may find this distance on the short side. Wilbo perhaps is the one to fear in the event this race gets switched to the main track.
$75,000 Blushing K. D. — Race 9
Grade 3 veteran La Signare ran her best race in more than a year when narrowly beaten in an Oct. 17 allowance at Keeneland, her first run since joining the Brendan Walsh barn. She appears one of the likely win candidates in this about 1 1/16-mile grass event for fillies and mares.
Notapradaprice perhaps didn’t take to the testing course conditions at Churchill when up the track in last month’s Cardinal (G3), but won a Grade 3 at Parx and the All Along S. at Laurel earlier this season on firm ground. Dream Passage, meanwhile, looks ready to step up to stakes company after back-to-back allowance wins in New York for Brad Cox. Her two prior losses at Fair Grounds were both in sprints.
$75,000 Sugar Bowl — Race 10
He’s relatively less experienced than his five rivals, but Shashashakemeup looms a major threat off a 5 1/2-length debut win at Churchill win on Nov. 17 in this 6-furlong heat for 2-year-olds. Also exiting a last-out maiden win in Louisville is Gold Street, who dominated by seven lengths for Steve Asmussen.
The remainder of the field all enter off allowance wins including Axiomo, who’s a two-time allowance victor, a rarity these days for a juvenile. Self Taught, Amongst, and Ryan’s Cat complete the field.
$75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial — Race 11
A competitive field of older horses comprise this about 1 1/16-mile grass test, including 2018 winner Great Wide Open. Dot Matrix, Factor This, and Secretary At War are Brad Cox’s three representatives, while Mike Maker saddles Parlor and Space Mountain.
Captivating Moon has placed multiple times in graded company, while Renaisance Frolic and Sailing Solo will merit respect off recent allowance successes.
$75,000 Tenacious — Race 12
The undoubted highlight of the stakes action is this one-mile-and-70-yard heat for older horses. Back from an unsuccessful excursion to South Korea is Grade 3 scorer Lone Sailor, runner-up in last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2) and also Grade 1-placed on multiple occasions. Tenfold, meanwhile, removes the blinkers after going unplaced four times since taking the Pimlico Special (G3) in May.
Multiple Grade 3 winner Blended Citizen enters off an allowance win at Churchill in his debut for new trainer Brad Cox, while Pioneer Spirit and C Z Rocket figure off a swiftly-run allowance/optional claiming heat over the same track on Nov. 2 in which they were separated by a neck at the finish.