Fair Grounds Barn Notes: Thursday, March 9

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· Forevamo Ready for Round Two
· Hogy to Shakertown, Declines Dubai Invite
· Tom’s d’Etat Nearing Return
· Stakes Horses on Work Tab

FOREVAMO READY FOR ROUND TWO

Brittlyn Stable’s popular multiple graded stakes-placed colt Forevamo did not prove victorious in his 2017 unveiling, but the son of Uncle Mo acquitted himself well for trainer Al Stall, Jr. and will now likely return to the same condition. Competitive in his aforementioned Feb. 17 4-year-old bow throughout, the bay 4-year-old seized the lead under Florent Geroux at the top of the stretch and then was nosed out after a lengthy duel with Egyptian.

“He came out of it great and he wasn’t too tired after the race,” Stall said. “He waits on the front end and has a habit of doing that a little too much. Florent came back and said he needed a target.

“We will likely run him in an allowance here on St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17),” Stall continued. “He came back really well from the race and is holding his weight.”

In what may wind up being a salty affair, the aforementioned allowance is a $45,000 allowance optional claiming event two-other-than for 4-year-olds and upward going a mile and 70 yards over the main track. The likely favorite in the event will be John C. Oxley’s Mark Casse-trained Tour de Force, a highly regarded and regally bred massive animal who cost $1.35 million at auction and is 2-for-3 lifetime.

HOGY TO SHAKERTOWN, DECLINES DUBAI INVITE

The connections behind Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots-based top turf sprinter Hogy are going to take the conservative route with the nearly black six-time stakes-winning gelding. The Scott Becker-trained and William Stiritz-owned son of Offlee Wild was extended an invitation to the Group I $1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night, Mar. 25, at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates, but will decline such and point for a second lifetime graded score in the Grade II $200,000 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland on Apr. 8.

“He came out of his race great and everything seems good,” Becker said. “We shipped him from the Fair Grounds to Fairmount (Park) to get him ready for Keeneland and the Shakertown.

“(Dubai representatives) called me, but I had already shipped the horse out. If I had more time and it was part of the plan, I might have gone. It was a little bit of a complicated ship too. I would have had to go with (Group I Dubai World Cup probable) Gun Runner to Miami for two days and then ship from there to Dubai. I also didn’t want to knock him out as an 8-year-old, so there were a few reasons not to go. If he’s doing this well, we’ll stay in the states and the plan will be the Shakertown and then hopefully the (Grade III $300,000 Jaipur) Stakes at Belmont in early June. The horse is doing really well and just has had some unfortunate trips.”

Doing well, indeed. The 16-time winner broke the 5½-furlong track record last out on the Stall-Wilson turf course in the $50,000 Col. Power Stakes, scorching the lawn in 1:01.56 and defeating multiple stakes-winning favorite Green Mask, an in-form foe who placed in both the Al Quoz and Grade I $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint two years ago. Even more impressive was the fact that at age eight and in his 41st start, Hogy earned his highest career Equibase Speed Figure — 122 — the highest rating of any turf horse in America thus far in 2017.

On the strength of his current form and penchant for the elusive six-furlong turf sprint distance of the Al Quoz, Hogy would have been one of the more formidable American entrants in the straight-stretched global sprint. He would have faced some of the world’s best turf sprinters, including multiple Group I winner Limato (Ire) and possibly top-ranked multiple Group I-placed Ballydoyle representative Washington DC (Ire).

TOM’S D’ETAT NEARING RETURN

G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat, an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga last summer, is training forwardly toward his 4-year-old bow for conditioner Al Stall, Jr. The son of Smart Strike put in a swift half-mile drill in 47.40 on Thursday morning, his second consecutive sharp drill for the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Hall of Fame trainer.

“His work may have been deceptively fast today,” Stall warned. “He looked like he was going in 49 or 50 and we saw 47 and change and he galloped out in a minute, so the track must have been fast. His gate work was really good. (Jockey David) Flores rode him in that and will have the ride in the race.”

Impeccably bred, being out of Julia Tuttle — a daughter Giant’s Causeway and Candy Cane (Arg), a full-sister to Candy Ride (Arg) — Tom’s d’Etat did not debut until Kentucky Derby weekend last year. Finishing off the board in that grass start, he returned three weeks later to finish second in a 1¼-miles main track maiden event. Said effort came just over two months prior to wiring a nine-furlong Saratoga maiden field, where he earned a 101 Equibase Speed Figure.

“We’re aiming toward a race at the end of the meet and hope it goes,” Stall said. “He’s training very well. We brought him in at the beginning of the meet and took our time with him. We said we would aim to a run in March and that seems to be what’s going to happen.”

STAKES HORSES ON WORK TAB

Trainer Neil Howard’s two stable stars Eagle — owned by breeder William S. Farish — and Guest Suite — owned by Farish and Lora Jean Kilroy — each stretched their legs through drills on Tuesday. Five-year-old graded stakes winner Eagle worked a half-mile in 48.80, while Guest Suite, fourth last out in the Grade II Risen Star, worked toward a tilt in the Grade II Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby with a move in 49.60 for the same trip.

Trainer Steve Asmussen had a band of classy pupils drill on Monday, led by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Louisiana Derby possible Local Hero, who worked an easy half-mile in 50.80, his first move since finishing third in the Grade II Risen Star on Feb. 25. The expensive son of Hard Spun was joined by Stonestreet Stables and Regis Racing’s Iron Fist, who went in 51.40 in his first move since winning the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on the same day. Asmussen’s well-bred Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred Untapped worked her half in a glacial 52.60 (29th of 29) and Winchell’s well-intended local sophomore allowance winner Total Tap got five panels in 1:02 flat.

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