July 25, 2024

Spooky Channel fires fresh in Diliberto Memorial

Spooky Channel wins the Buddy Diliberto Memorial at Fair Grounds (Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir)

Spooky Channel successfully overcame a 14-month layoff to extend his win streak to three races in the $99,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial, the second of two grass fixtures on a stakes spectacular at Fair Grounds on Monday.

Ridden by James Graham, Spooky Channel overtook pacesetter and 2-1 favorite Gentle Soul in upper stretch and scored by 2 1/4 lengths for owner NBS Stable and trainer Jason Barkley. Spooky Channel covered 1 1/16 miles on firm ground in 1:48.41 and paid $9.80 as the third choice in a field of eight. English Tavern finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over Big Agenda.

A seven-year-old gelding by English Channel, Spooky Channel was last seen in October 2021 winning the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland over 1 1/2 miles. In his start before that, Spooky Channel captured the Remington Green S. at Remington Park. He scored prior Grade 3 wins in the 2020 W.L. McKnight at Gulfstream and 2021 John B. Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston.

The ninth and final stakes of the day, the $100,000 Tenacious S. for older horses going 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track, was won by Happy American by 2 3/4 lengths under James Graham, the rider’s third stakes win of the day.

Second by a nose in the 2021 edition of the Tenacious, Happy American finished up in 1:44.19 for owner Lothenbach Stables and trainer Neil Pessin. Mr. Wireless finished second and 2-1 Forza Di Oro finished third.

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Happy American was winning his first stakes. He is a Runhappy half-brother to Grade 2 winner Well Monied and Grade 3 hero Economic Model.

Surveillance ran his Fair Grounds record to 4-for-4 with a come-from-behind victory in the $98,000 Richard Scherer Memorial. Ridden by James Graham, Surveillance rallied from fifth to win the six-furlong dash by two lengths and paid $17.80. Bango finished second by 2 3/4 lengths over Heart Rhythm, while 3-1 favorite Tulane Tryst trailed the field of seven.

Owned by Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch and trainer Keith Desormeaux, Surveillance entered off a half-length triumph in the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds over Heart Rhythm. A five-year-old gelded son of Constitution, Surveillance has now won five of 21 starts.

Corona Bolt made it 2-for-2 in his young career with an authoritative display in the $97,000 Sugar Bowl S. for two-year-olds. Under Florent Geroux, Corona Bolt led wire-to-wire to win by 6 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:09.96 for six furlongs. Distorted Pro finished second by a nose over Toddchero.

Owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by Brad Cox, Corona Bolt paid $3. The son of freshman sire Bolt d’Oro had previously won his Nov. 19 debut at Churchill Downs by one length.

Bred in Florida by Summerfield Sales Agency and Etarip Stables, Corona Bolt sold for $225,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November and has now earned $102,000.

Another good-looking juvenile winner for Cox and Geroux was Dazzling Blue, who rolled to a three-length win in the $99,000 Letellier Memorial for fillies. Owned by Juddmonte, Dazzling Blue led longshots Condensation and Miss Shipman across the wire.

A winner on debut by 4 1/2 lengths at Churchill on Nov. 16, Dazzling Blue covered six furlongs in 1:11.59 and paid $3. Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and sold for $500,000 at Keeneland September, Dazzling Blue is a daughter of Into Mischief and has now bankrolled $129,000.

Moon Swag overtook 7-10 favorite Charlie’s Penny in the stretch and powered home to a 2 1/2-length score in the $96,000 Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Memorial for fillies and mares. Under Corey Lanerie, Moon Swag covered one mile and 70 yards in 1:43.21. Powder River edged Charlie’s Penny for second by a head.

Owned by Farfellow Farm and trained by Brendan Walsh, Moon Swag was registering her first stakes win since the 2020 Manzano S. at Albuquerque. The four-year-old has placed in three other stakes, including the 2021 Indiana Oaks (G3).

Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Moon Swag is a daughter of Malibu Moon and the Grade 2-winning Yara.

Oliviaofthedesert claimed the belated first turf race of Fair Grounds’ 2022-23 meet, getting up in the final strides to win the $97,000 Blushing K. D. S. by a head over Wave of Goodness. Lake Lucerne, the 2-1 favorite finished third in a field of six fillies and mares.

Owned by Susan Moulton and trained by Wayne Catalano, Oliviaofthedesert returned $12 after completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:50.10 under Corey Lanerie.

This was the first win on grass in seven attempts and fourth career stakes score for Oliviaofthedesert. She had previously captured the 2020 Trapeze S. at Remington Park and the 2021 Panther S. and 2022 Jack Bishop S., both at Prairie Meadows, when previously trained by Kenny McPeek.

A daughter of Bernardini, Oliviaofthedesert was bred in Kentucky by Timber Town Stable and Jane Winegardner.