Fair Grounds Stakes Selections for Nov. 17
A trio of black-type events for Cajun-bred runners will highlight the opening day action at Fair Grounds on Friday.
Race 6 – Doris Hebert Memorial S.
The six-furlong dirt dash for fillies and mares attracted 11. Bret Calhoun’s #7 Free Drop Maddy (8-1) picked up a pair of stakes wins when sprinting on the oval in the winter and will make her second run following a long absence. The bay sophomore is three-for-four lifetime at Fair Grounds, and while her comeback attempt wasn’t great at Delta Downs most recently, she will take a big step forward second time back on her home surface. The $200,000 purchase will be forwardly placed from the break beneath C.J. McMahon.
Race 8 – John Valene Memorial S.
A total of nine fillies and mares will travel two turns on the dirt in an interesting affair. The Patricia West-trained #6 A G’s Charlotte (5-2) is a multiple-stakes heroine on the oval and comes in fresh as a major player in the heat. The Mo Tom four-year-old has been consistently good for two seasons in succession, and her versatile running style is a bonus with Marcelino Pedroza in the silks. I expect the filly to be tracking the tempo from the second flight early prior to putting in her winning run down the lane.
Race 9 – Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial S.
Juvenile fillies will speed 5 1/2 panels on the dirt in the finale. A massive field of 14 is signed on for the dash in what seems to be a wide-open contest. While #1 Clearly A Test (12-1) has yet to hit the board in three lifetime races, the bay filly comes in fresh and will appreciate the move in with state-bred foes in her debut for conditioner Shane Wilson. This Brittlyn Stables homebred was fourth in each of her races at Saratoga in the summer while running into some very nice prospects, and this spot looks to be more reasonable for the lass. The daughter of Clearly Now gets Lasix for the initial time and fired a bullet half-mile on this strip in advance of her local bow, as well. She will show speed early under Jose Guerrero.