· Hollywood Handsome Fires Bullet for Louisiana Derby
· Clearly Now Seeking Clear Sailing
· Chocolate Ride Highlights Work Tab
HOLLYWOOD HANDSOME FIRES BULLET FOR LOUISIANA DERBY
Trainer Dallas Stewart has had a turbulent winter. On the heels of losing his homebred Saint’s Fan in a morning breakdown, the veteran multiple classic-placed and Breeders’ Cup-winning conditioner has a light at the end of the tunnel named Hollywood Handsome. The son of Tapizar is working up a storm at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and appears to be progressing at an opportune time for a sophomore.
On Friday morning, the Kentucky-bred owned by Mark H. Stanley drilled his second consecutive bullet, getting five furlongs in 59.40, the best of 25 moves. Last Friday, the bay colt went the same distance in a best-of-20 1:00 flat.
“It’s two weeks in a row he has worked very well and was actually a little stronger today,” Stewart said. “I think he’s a horse that’s coming along at the right time and shown it in his work. He’s run against some really nice horses. When we got here to New Orleans we thought about running him on the turf, but we stuck with the dirt and he broke his maiden in the mud. He came out of that good and was running hard at the end of his last race and has moved forward since then.
“I think we’ll take a shot at the (Grade II $1,000,000) Louisiana Derby with him,” he continued. “I think he’ll really like the mile and an eighth. He has started turning the corner. Who knows what could happen, but we are very happy with our position right now.”
Hollywood Handsome has started six times, with a victory and three thirds to his credit. Never worse than fifth, he graduated over well-regarded Brendan Walsh trainee Multiplier two back on Jan. 21 and last out flew home from 10 lengths astern under Francisco Torres to be nosed out for second by Society Beau and lose by less than a length to winner Total Tap on Feb. 18.
Additionally, he was fourth behind graded stakes-placed Takeoff three back on Dec. 26 and was not far behind Louisiana Derby-bound Senior Investment a race prior to that.
Torres is expected to ride in the 104th running of Fair Grounds’ richest race.
CLEARLY NOW SEEKING CLEAR SAILING
Brittlyn Stables’ Clearly Now has had more than his fair share of bad racing luck. A sprint closer, the son of Horse Greeley naturally must have things fall his way once he commences his rally, but such has not occurred in recent outings.
Last out, in a salty allowance race won by one-back stakes winner Yockey’s Warrior, Clearly Now was repeatedly stopped on the far turn and checked in a frustrated fifth of nine. Two races back he hated the muddy going in the $75,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes, checking in last of four after being bumped early and showing clear distaste for the going. Three back, he was forced to go inside to rally up the rail in Yockey’s Warrior’s $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap. Add to these trials that the outside rally-loving horse has drawn the rail multiple times throughout the last two years and the Ron Faucheux trainee is due a little luck.
“I’ve been very confident in every race I put a saddle on him,” Faucheux said. “It’s just a little frustrating because with the way he runs, he needs to be lucky. Once he gets stopped, it’s hard for him to regain that, so he’s a victim of his own style.
“He came out of his last race fine,” Faucheux continued. “I am thinking I am done running him three-quarters (of a mile) and I think that I’m going to look at seven furlong races. Nothing is certain yet, but there’s a stakes on April 1 at Gulfstream Park and also an allowance we’ll look at. Hopefully being seven furlongs, it’ll spread out the field a little bit. He’s still his same old self and there isn’t a better-looking horse on the grounds.”
A multiple graded stakes winner, the veteran racehorse will be retired to stand in Louisiana at the conclusion of his career. Thus far in his career, the nearly black charge has seven wins from 29 starts and more than $1.1 million earnings. As a sophomore in 2013, the Claiborne Farm-bred horse ran twice at Gulfstream in graded company while trained by Brian Lynch, taking the Grade III Swale Stakes and finishing third in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes.
This year’s $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes, the aforementioned possible target, is slated for the Florida Derby undercard at the Hallandale Beach, Florida, racecourse. Faucheux has decided to take a string to the nearly year-round track for the summer months.
“I’m going to send some down there,” he said. “Most of my babies will likely stay up at Evangeline (Downs), but I’m going to take some of my others down to Gulfstream and see how it goes. I’ll head there right at the end of the meet here.”
CHOCOLATE RIDE HIGHLIGHTS WORK TAB
Brad Cox-trained Chocolate Ride worked an easy half-mile in 50 flat for GenStar Thoroughbreds. The 7-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride (Arg) is entered in an allowance race next Thursday after having competed in nine stakes — eight graded — in his previous 10 starts. The last time the bay charge ran in allowance company, he won by three lengths in Nov. 2015.
Hillerich Racing and trainer Bernie Flint’s One Mean Man worked five furlongs on Friday in 1:01 flat with Flint looking on. Third last out in the Grade III $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap, the multiple graded stakes winner is possible for the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial on Apr. 1, Louisiana Derby Day.
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ talented multiple allowance winner Quijote worked a half-mile in 49.60 for trainer Tom Amoss. The stakes-placed son of Pomeroy exits two good-looking wins in allowance company after finishing fourth on Nov. 24 in the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap. He is unraced since Jan. 22.