· Bam Bam Bryan One to Watch for Stall
· Souper Tapit and Tour de Force Work in Tandem
· Perfect Prediction’s Plans up in the Air
· Noble Bird Possible for New Orleans Handicap
· Gun Runner Tops Weekend Work Tab
BAM BAM BRYAN ONE TO WATCH FOR STALL
Georgia Farm’s homebred Bam Bam Bryan served notice of what Al Stall, Jr. warned earlier this meet: his sophomores would be late bloomers during the meet. On Thursday, the gray son of The Factor did more than bloom in his bow, he blew them away with a seven-length victory in 1:10.35 under Colby Hernandez. A muscular gray colt, the Louisiana-bred sped through swift splits of 21.79 and 45.26 before easily cantering home a swift gate-to-wire victor.
“He’s a homebred of Georgia Farm and has a lot of talent,” Stall said. “Terry Gabriel broke him and they didn’t sell him, but he showed a lot of ability. He had some baby issues last year, so we backed off on him. Just your normal growing issues that needed some time off. I told the owner that he would be a Mardi Gras baby and was only a few days off.
“Being by The Factor, we knew he instantly had that speed and he showed that,” Stall continued. “We knew it right off the bat and his works were all done the right way. He ran even a little better than his works, in my opinion. They were going fast, but he was comfortable and his ears were forward and that’s something you really like to see. We’ll look for maybe an allowance at Keeneland for him.”
Bam Bam Bryan earned a 94 Equibase Speed Figure for his victory.
SOUPER TAPIT AND TOUR DE FORCE WORK IN TANDEM
Two of the three highest-profile horses in the local Mark Casse string worked in tandem on Saturday morning at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. While sophomore filly and Breeders’ Cup-placed Valadorna, owned by Stonestreet Stables, may be the most well-known of the local Casse crew, it is Tour de Force and Souper Tapit who have turned the most heads in the shortest amount of time. Not only stars on paper, the pair has each won well recently and look to be headed to local allowance company at the end of the meet before possible stakes company in April at Keeneland or elsewhere.
Working five furlongs Saturday morning, John C. Oxley’s 4-year-old Tour de Force — a $1.35 million purchase who is 2-for-3 lifetime — broke off under Jerome Lermyte a couple lengths ahead of his younger Live Oak Stud-owned sophomore stablemate, who was ridden by Sophie Doyle. The emblazoned chestnut 3-year-old then drew up alongside the two and they finished together in a bullet 59.80, with the jockeys noticeably slowing their horses in the final eighth due to the alarm of a loose horse. Their move was still the best of 38.
“Both riders were looking around and slowed down the last eighth, but I do have to say that the track was fast,” said assistant trainer David Carroll. “Souper Tapit is better in company and Tour de force broke off in front and he joined them. It was two beautiful horses finishing beautifully. It was a nice sight to see.
“We’ll likely go for an allowance on St. Patrick’s Day for Tour de Force,” Carroll continued. “We’re trying to get one more race into Souper Tapit before the end of the meet. It was a really fine work and I’m delighted with them both. I wanted them to each get a little out of the work and I think they did.”
PERFECT PREDICTION’S PLANS UP IN THE AIR
Brereton C. Jones’ Perfect Prediction earned her first blacktype on Friday night, winning the $50,000 Take Charge Brandi Stakes at Delta Downs in her second start of the year. Her first, a smart runner-up effort in Fair Grounds allowance company, set her up beautifully for the seven-furlong two-turn stakes event around Delta’s bullring six-furlong track and she responded with a 3¼-length win over last-out stakes winner Golden Mischief.
“I thought she ran really well,” trainer Larry Jones said. “She liked the track up there. I’m not sure she’s a (Fair Grounds or Kentucky) Oaks type and I’m not really sure what we’ll do with her next, but the run was very good.”
Perfect Prediction is a compact bay daughter of Majesticperfection out of the Vicar mare Predictress. She is a three-quarter sister to Three Day Rush (Harlan’s Holiday), a stakes winner at two who would go on to place in two-turn stakes company at three and ultimately become a useful multiple allowance winner around one turn.
NOBLE BIRD POSSIBLE FOR NEW ORLEANS HANDICAP
Trainer Mark Casse confirmed on Sunday morning that Noble Bird is possible to ship from South Florida for the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap. The other option for the 6-year-old Grade I winner is the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita. Casse stated that he is 75% leaning toward coming to New Orleans — where he has a string — but will wait to make a decision, as the race is not until Apr. 1.
GUN RUNNER TOPS WEEKEND WORK TAB
Gun Runner worked toward his tilt in the Group I $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup with a five-furlong move in 1:01.20 on Saturday. The Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm-owned chestnut is in serious form on the strength of a romp in last week’s Grade III $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Senior Investment worked toward a run in the Grade II $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby with a five-furlong drill in 1:03.80. The Kenny McPeek-trained colt was impressive taking an allowance at Oaklawn Park last out and broke his maiden in December over the Fair Grounds surface for owner Fern Circle Stables.
Chocolate Ride returned to the work tab on Saturday for Brad Cox. The GenStar Thoroughbreds-owned 7-year-old worked a half-mile in 50.40 for his connections. His fellow multiple graded stakes-winning stablemate Cash Control worked toward a possible run in the $50,000 New Orleans Ladies on Apr. 1 with a half-mile move in 49.40. The Richard and Bertram Klein-owned mare, like Chocolate Ride, is unraced since an uncharactically poor showing in local stakes company on Jan. 21.
A 3-year-old to watch moving forward, Multiplier worked a half-mile on Saturday in 51.40 for trainer Brendan Walsh and owner American Equistock. Though still a maiden, he has run two solid races against highly regarded foes, including a tough neck loss last out to Souper Tapit in a mile and 70-yard maiden Feb. 18.
Grade III winner Mo Tom returned to the tab Sunday morning for the first time since a disappointing run in last Saturday’s Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap. He worked a half-mile in 48.80 for trainer Tom Amoss and owner G M B Racing.
Promising sophomore turf stakes winner Stallion Heiress worked a swift half-mile in 48.20 for trainer Mike Stidham and owner Stallionaire Enterprises. Her Grade I-placed stablemate Zipessa worked the same distance in 49 flat for Empyrean Stables.