Its been four seasons since this trainer etched his name into this trophy when his four year old named Generals Companion took home the title. He had won the Santa Anita Derby the previous season and just missed by a neck at capturing the Derby. So are there any with that kind of caliber in today’s event?
- New Orleans Handicap ( Gr. II ) – Purse $400.000
- Fair Grounds- For Four Years Old and Up
- One Mile and One Eighth in Distance- Main Track
- March 21st, 2020
- Event Record: 2007 Barbarino- 1:46.57
Ten of the last fourteen seasons of this affair have all been captured by four year olds. This year, Maxmillion Farm is taking a serious push towards capturing his second title by sending out the likes of Catch A Buzz ( Ch g.5), Gran Z ( B g.4) and A Storm Has Arrived ( Gr.g.6). They will have their work cut out for them in this event as two will compete once again against Market Value ( Nakamura Stables ), who took home the Gr.III Razorback Handicap in his opener. As well there are a few other talented runners who have come to Louisiana to lay claim to this event. Here’s the rundown of this field;
1 Phooeys Queen Blue ( Aer Stables) Rider- Bejarano R…Last seasons Florida Derby winner and finished a quarter of a length shy in the Preakness, has been competing at the higher Grade I level in his two most recent, and he did earn a 101 SRF to close out last season in the Gr. I Malibu. Has been winless since that Florida Derby victory and his new trainer is making a refocus here. First time dropping below 120 pounds should help with the assistance of last season’s Jockey Of The Year.
2 Brady Is A Lady ( Sharis Stables ) Rider-Velazquez J R...While normally a closer in the latter stages, he was forced to go to the front breaking from the eleven hole and he almost managed to stop on top throughout in the Gr II San Pasquel Stakes, only relinquishing the lead late to a 104-1 longshot. This inside post should be more suited for him to place slightly back and make a final kick down the lane. If placed well off the turn, will make this an interesting finish.
3 Reach For A Latte ( Fractious ) Rider-Gaffalione T…This rider closed well with this five year old in his final run of last season when competing in the Gr.II San Antonio Stakes. Opener this year walking away with the Gr.III Mineshaft Stakes with a length victory while earning a 96 SRF. Winner of the Gr.III Hooper early last season in the mud, he is hoping that he will continue to have a better then average start to this season. Horse/Rider have teamed up in the past.
4 Catch A Buzz ( Maxmillion Farm ) Rider-Court J K…Jockey may be looking to take top honors this season as he is already firing at some 40% for wins. After his previous owner kept him locked in OpClm40 affairs, his new interests fired him right out of the box into the CC Jewel at GP and the horse responded with a victory to close out last season. This years opener was the Razorback where he was a length shy of the eventual winner who he will have to face once again today. Four of seven last season and this rider should help with his efforts.
5 Juice Mixer ( Nolespan Racing ) Rider-Saez L...When you mention this trainer you will more then likely remember the likes of Girl Talk who took home four Graded titles in her career and this trainers only Gr.II victory in the Honeymoon in 2015. He is now hoping that this four year old that he claimed just last month will show up for the party this weekend. While he has yet to even compete for a stakes title, he did manage to finish 8 for 9 in the money. This event should set the bar for future events. In Tough.
6 Gran Z ( Maxmillion Farm) Rider-Beschizza A…Closed out last season with a narrow neck length win in the $125 Marion Stakes against a smaller field of four. Opened up 2020 with a seventh place finish in the Razorback Handicap, and will once again face a couple from that event here. Tried to stay close to the front in his opener, but much rather prefers to come late for the show. If he can use the same strategy that was displayed in last seasons Gr.III Discovery Hdcp. affair, he could see himself in the mix late. Instructions will be the key here.
7 Serengeti Sands ( TwinTowersRacing ) Rider-Tunon M…I cant exactly put my finger on it, but there is something about this entry that I like. Has gone runner-up in his past two events, the SSM Classic in his seasonal opener, then most recently in the Gr.III General George Stakes where he was just a nose shy of the victory. He would finish ahead of last seasons SA Derby and Belmont winner Admiration in that event. While he only had the Kellys Landing victory to his credit last season, I think the maturity agrees with him.Factor.
8 A Storm Has Arrived ( Maxmillion Farm) Rider-Franco G…Final entry for this trainer, this six year old gray is hoping this spring season will be as good as last years. Took home victories in the Gr.II Californian Stakes and then the Gr.III PIM Special on Preakness weekend. Finished fourth in the Mineshaft behind one who is entered here, and he did have Franco aboard for his Gr. II victory last season, so maybe the duo can find that spark once again today.
9 Market Value ( Nakamura Stables ) Rider-Gryder A T…Closed out last season with a victory in the $75 Prairie Bayou Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth, then captured the Gr.III Razorback Hdcp in his opener this year. Trainer must have confidence in this rider as he will be aboard Time Lady in the SUN Oaks on Sunday as well. Has three victories, two places and a show finish in his past six starts, and that should attract a lot of backers come post time. One to topple.
10 Beaver Wars ( Team 7 Illusions ) Rider-Bocachica A...After a runner-up effort in last seasons LA Derby, he turned to the Derby and was a disappointing 15th after having to break from way outside in the 18th post. Closed out his season early in September with another disappointing 14th in the Gr.I JC Gold Cup event. Was kept at the barns till this February where he captured a one length victory on the frontend in a mile and a quarter Clm20 event. Lasix was removed for that event and will remain off today. Will he set the pace?
11 Never Met Me ( Mb Stables )- SCRATCHED
12 Veritas Aequitas ( Rampage Stable) Rider-Rosario J…Will slide in one spot closer with the scratch, and while more then likely with the accompaniment of Beaver Wars, should be away quickly to the front of the field early. While Rosario was credited with getting this then three year old his maiden victory, I’m surprised the likes of three time winner of this affair Lanerie has not been called upon. Has done well when in the hunt from the start, so he should find himself in the purse share by the race end.