March 24, 2023

Silver Dust, Bobby’s Wicked One much the best in Fair Grounds stakes

Silver Dust with Jack Gilligan aboard pulls away to capture the 74th running of the Louisiana Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds. (c) Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir

Silver Dust and Bobby’s Wicked One posted outstanding wins at Fair Grounds on Saturday, crushing foes in the $100,000 Louisiana (G3) and $100,000 Duncan Kenner. The stakes were part of a 13-race program featuring Kentucky Derby and Oaks prospects in the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) and $150,000 Silverbulletday.

Unraced since a neck second in the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs in late September, Silver Dust returned from the four-month layoff better than ever. The six-year-old gelding tracked pacesetter Gun It until the completion of the far turn, surged clear into the stretch with a widening advantage, and cruised to the wire beneath regular rider Jack Gilligan. Bret Calhoun trains for owner Tom Durant.

Silver Dust left the starting gate as the 3-5 favorite and completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.19. Runner-up in last year’s Louisiana, the Kentucky-bred son of Tapit earned his first stakes win in the Mineshaft (G3) a month later and also finished second in the New Orleans (G2) at Fair Grounds. He captured the West Virginia Governor’s at Mountaineer before the aforementioned second in the Lukas Classic, and Silver Dust appears poised for a fine 2020 campaign. His record now reads 25-6-7-2

Blended Citizen got up late for second, edging Gun It by a neck. Roiland, Tone Broke and Kukulkan rounded out the order.

Bobby’s Wicked One looks ready to take a step forward in the sprint ranks, dominating the Kenner from start to finish. The Al Stall-trained chestnut faced only two opponents following a pair of defections, and the classy 5-year-old horse was never challenged on the front end and in hand while ripping through fast splits in :22.02, :44.87 and :56.08, ultimately stepping 6-furlongs in 1:08.55.

A facile winner of the November 28 Thanksgiving at Fair Grounds, Bobby’s Wicked One notched a 4 1/4-length decision Saturday under regular rider Miguel Mena. The Autumn Hills Farms’ colorbearer earned his first stakes victory in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland last spring, and he finished second to presumptive sprint champion Mitole in the Churchill Downs (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

A son of Speightstown, Bobby’s Wicked One improved his career mark to 15-6-4-1. Grade 1 winner Hog Creek Hustle, who was making his first attempt since a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), held second by three-quarters of a length over Do Share.

In the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley, Dontblamerocket stretched his win streak to three with a three-length tally in the about 1 1/16-mile turf affair. The reformed claimer was making his stakes debut for AJ Suited Racing Stable and Norm Casse, and the 6-year-old gelding rallied from just off the pace to triumph going away with Julien Leparoux.

Claimed for $50,000 three starts earlier, Dontblamerocket was making his first start since a course-record setting win in a Kentucky Downs starter allowance in early September. The son of Blame stopped the teletimer in 1:40.55 and left the starting gate at 6-1 odds. Midnight Tea Time, Factor This, Captivating Moon, Sailing Solo, Space Mountain, Parlor and 3-2 favorite Mr. Misunderstood came next under the wire.

Quebec made all the running in the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial, opening a clear early lead before holding to win by a neck. The 6-year-old mare was favored at 9-5 among nine distaffers in the about 1 1/16-mile turf race, and Adam Beschizza was up for owners Connie and Richard Snyder and trainer Joe Sharp.

A stakes winner at Gulfstream Park last spring, Quebec was exiting a fourth in the 5 1/2-furlong Pan Zareta on Dec. 28. That served as a perfect tightener for the daughter of Into Mischief. Don’t Tell Marge came up a little short with her late rally, edging Stave by a head for second. Makealitlemishief, Area, La SIgnare, Smart Emma, Divine Queen and Avie’s Mineshaft came next under the finish line.