Mobile Bay Defends His Title In Louisiana Champions Day Classic

A 10-month layoff appeared to be no issue for Tigertail Ranch’s Louisiana millionaire Mobile Bay as he successfully defended his title in an epic renewal of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic when the gutsy iron horse with nine stakes victories outnodded challenger Grande Basin Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

Piloted by Diego Saenz and trained by Victor Arceneaux, the 5-year-old son of Lone Star Special broke right on top and separated himself from the remainder of the field throwing down fractions of 24.51, 48.58 and 1:14.24. As the field approached the far turn, Mobile Bay’s leading margins began to slim down as Grande Basin and Underpressure started to inch their way closer to the leader.

At the top of the stretch, Saenz called on Mobile Bay for everything he had while jockey Miguel Mena did the same aboard Grande Basin to his inside. Underpressure kept close company but could not quite get involved with the two fighters up front. While it looked like Grande Basin may have gotten the better of his rival, the defending champion would not be denied. Both horses laid their noses right on the wire together resulting in a photo finish that would go to Mobile Bay, who finished the nine furlong trip in a time of 1:51.95.

“I was on the lead and he didn’t want to come back to me,” Saenz said. “I was afraid I was going to get beat because he was a little fresh off the layoff. That was close.”

Mena had no excuses aboard Grande Basin.

“Beautiful trip,” Mena said. “I rode him the way I think he likes, but it was just a very tough beat. We lost to one of the best Louisiana-breds out there.”

Mobile Bay brought his lifetime earnings all the way up to $1,096,440 after his second straight Louisiana Champions Day Classic win. Other stakes victories of his include a win in the Grade II Super Derby in 2015 as well as triumphs against open company in the Zia Park Derby and Sunland Park Handicaps at their namesake courses. He returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 while Grande Basin and Underpressure returned $5.40, $3 and $2.20, respectively.

Mobile Bay joins Blissful Union (1991-92), Magnify (1997-98), Costa Rising (2006-07), Star Guitar (2009-11) and Sunbean (2013-14) as the only horses to score multiple victories in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

Mageez and One King’s Man completed the running order.

Several stakes were contested earlier in the card on a Champions Day program worth $1.1 million. Highlights included:

– Hay Hollow Racing Stables’ Stand Him Up ($5.20, $3.60, $3.40) pulled off a hat trick when winning the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint by 1¼ lengths in a final time of 1:11.03. Ridden by Gabriel Saez and trained by Howard Alonzo, the son of Time Bandit came into the race off of a victory against allowance company at Evangeline Downs in August and a win on Opening Day in the Heitai Stakes.

Breaking from the gate, Stand Him Up sat just a half-length off the pace controlled by Jockamo’s Song who set fractions of 22.76, 46.73. Approaching the top of the stretch, Stand Him Up took command, headed and passed the leader and held off 24-1 longshot Just Kissing Buck ($17 and $10.80) while Hunker Down ($11.40) took the show spot, another three-quarters of a length back.

“He’s an awesome horse,” Saez said. “Every time I get on him he gives me 100%, and I was glad that a couple horses went to the front end. When it was time to come around and make our move, he finished up running.”

Stand Him Up collected $60,000 from his Sprint victory, which brought his career earnings up to $208,460 in his seventh career win in 14 lifetime starts.

Jockamo’s Song, Nubin Ridge, My Friend Flavin, Double Barrel Man, Philly and Outofthisgalaxy completed the order of finish.

– Town and Country LLC’s My Miss Chiff ($4.40, $3 and $2.10) kept an undefeated streak over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track alive when she won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint, her fourth victory in as many starts over the New Orleans oval.

Ridden by Mitchell Murrill and trained by Al Stall, Jr., the daughter of Into Mischief‘s wins at the Fair Grounds include a maiden win in January and a March allowance victory, both against statebreds, as well as her triumph last out in the Happy Ticket Stakes on Opening Day.

Breaking from the gate, Murrill took My Miss Chiff back to third as Elektracutioner dictated the pace up front through fractions of 21.86 and 45.56. Approaching the top of the stretch, My Miss Chiff began to gain on the tiring pacesetter and took command to win the race by three-quarters of a length over Look Into My Eyes ($5.80 and $3.20), who was  3½ lengths clear of Wheatfield ($2.10) in third.

“We got the trip we wanted,” Murrill said. “We sat outside. She does her own thing and then just takes me right back to the wire.”

My Miss Chiff scored her fourth victory in six lifetime starts and boosted her earnings to $159,660.

Play Unified, Dr Liz, Bitsy’s C C, Discreetly Grand, Elektracutioner, Sunny Oak and Fairwell Tax Break completed the order of finish.

– Brittlyn Stable’s Minit To Stardom ($3, $2.60 and $2.10) proved herself to be a worthy 1-2 favorite in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie, winning the six-furlong event by an emphatic 7¼ lengths. Guided to victory by Colby Hernandez and trained by Al Stall, Jr., the daughter of Louisiana living legend Star Guitar broke sharply and sat just to the outside of pacesetters Tigertail Ranch’s Cool Spring and stablemate Andthebandplayedon who set opening fractions of 22.10 and 46.38 Around the far turn, Minit To Stardom cruised to the front without being asked and began to open up on the field. Hernandez shook the reins a few times in the stretch as the filly completed the trip in 1:12.18.

Perform Stables Inc.’s Sarah’s Holy Belle ($9.80 and $6) closed to get second, 1¼ lengths ahead of Brad Raney’s Girls Life ($6.80) in third.

“She’s a really nice filly,” Hernandez said. “She’ll do anything you ask her to, but I didn’t have to ask her to do much.”

The Louisiana Champions Day Lassie was Minit To Stardom’s first stakes victory in only her second career start. She made her career debut a winning one by 5¼ lengths on Opening Day in a state-bred maiden special weight. The victory elevated her lifetime earnings to $84,600.

Yes Gorgeous, Cool Spring, Andthebandplayedon, She’screative and Just A Bandit completed the order of finish.

– Phyllis J. Hodges and Randy Schiender’s Greeley Went West ($15, $7 and $4.20) out-dueled Brittlyn Stable’s stubborn Divine Bean ($3.60, $2.80) in the stretch to take the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes by a length in a time of 1:11.76.

Trained by James Hodges and ridden to victory by James Graham, the son of El Corredor remained undefeated in two starts, the first of which was a win against state-bred maidens at Louisiana Downs in September. Graham kept Greeley Went West off the pace commanded by Divine Bean who set opening fractions of 21.96, 46.07 and 58.60 before unsuccessfully fighting off a challenge from the eventual winner. Horseplayer Racing Club’s Cajun Creed ($3) took the show spot another length back.

“He broke sharp and I put him in a good spot,” Graham said. “When I picked him up he sprinted home. He went after them a little sooner than I wanted to, but halfway around the turn I said, ‘Man, I’ve got a little bit of pony.’”

The first time gelding enhanced his career earnings to $73,200.

Ready Prospector, Pound For Pound, Prayer Boy, Exigent and Uncle Herbie completed the order of finish.

The post Mobile Bay Defends His Title In Louisiana Champions Day Classic appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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