Shang Takes On Underpressure In Saturday’s Louisiana Champions Day Classic

Corrine & William L. Heiligbrodt’s Shang, a winner of four of five lifetime starts locally, has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s 8-5 morning line favorite for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic (1 1/8 miles), one of ten restricted stakes offered on Saturday’s 13-race card at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, La. First post will be at noon CT, one hour earlier than usual. The Classic is carded as race 12. Traditional 50-cent Pick Five wagers will be offered in races one and nine.

A 4-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby, the Steve Asmussen-trained Shang is seven for 14 lifetime, with four of those wins coming in Lousiana-bred stakes. In his most recent start on July 4 at Evangeline Downs, Shang rallied from mid-pack to take the Louisiana Legends Turf. Ricardo Santana, Jr. has the call from post seven of eight.

Drawn just to Shang’s outside is the 5-2 second choice, Mallory Richard’s Underpressure. A career earner of nearly $744,582, the 6-year-old gelded son of Birdstone is a 13-time winner from 37 lifetime opportunities. The winner of seven restricted stakes, this will be the Chris Richard trainee’s fourth try in the Louisiana Classic. The winner of the 2018 edition over a sloppy track, he was third in 2017 and again last year. Fair Grounds’ current leading rider James Graham has the call from post eight.

Completing the Louisiana Champions Day Classic field from the rail out: Whitney Zeringue, Jr.’s (owner and trainer) Freedomfi, the winner of 2 of 18 starts (post 1 at 20-1 with Mitchell Murrill); Kirk Rovinsky’s Social Afleet, most recently sixth off the $20,000 claim in the B-Connected Stakes at Delta Downs on November 24 for trainer Sarah Delany (post 2 at 20-1 with Marcelino Pedroza); Gerrard Perron’s (owner and trainer) Grand Luwegee, who is winless since posting an upset victory in thee Premier Night Championship at Delta in February of 2019 (post 3 at 10-1 with Colby Hernandez); Baronne Farm’s Sydster, who won the Crescent City Derby for trainer Eddie Johnston on March 21 at Fair Grounds (post 4 at 5-1 with Florent Geroux – cross entered in the Turf); Pine Knoll Farm LLC’s Jus Lively, who just missed in the B-Connected Stakes on November 24 at Delta Downs last out for trainer Steve Asmussen (8-1 with Adam Beschizza); and Double Dan Farm LLC’s and trainer Delmar Caldwell’s Mageez, who has won ten races and banked $578,755 in a 50-race career.

Thomas Morley and Paul Braveman’s Ninety One Assault, who stormed home to an impressive victory in last year’s edition, is slated to take on ten rivals as the 9-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. Contested over 1 1/16 miles on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, it will be run as race 11 of 13 on the card.

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who has won five of his six tries aboard the seven-year-old gelding, will partner with him once again, and the dynamic duo will leave from post nine for trainer Tom Morley. Campaigned on the East Coast when Fair Grounds is dark for live racing, Ninety One Assault was last seen finishing sixth in the Artie Schiller, a race named for his sire, on November 14 at Aqueduct.

Claimed for just $12,500 in August of 2019, Budro Talking would finish third in last year’s Louisiana Turf Classic just four months later for trainer Karl Broberg. Claimed again for $17,500 by owner Jack Randall and trainer Keith Austin, the five-year-old gelded son of Tale of Ekati has rattled off consecutive wins for his current connections, including the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start on September 19. He will break from post two on Saturday with Florent Geroux in tow.

Completing the Louisiana Champions Day Turf field from the rail out: Snake Racing LLC’s Treys Midnight Moon, a former $5,000 claimer who has gone on to win ten races and bank $233,665 (post 1 with James Graham at 10-1 for trainer Coralle “Bunky” Rickards); E and M Scherer Racing and trainer Eric Scherer’s Musical Man, who is two for 16 lifetime (post 3 with Adam Beschizza at 30-1); Brittlyn Stable Inc.’s Guitar Tribute, who has hit the board in four consecutive starts for trainer Jose Camejo (post 4 with Ricardo Santana, Jr. at 20-1); Lane Cortez and trainer Ron Faucheux’s Afleet Ascent, who has banked over $200,000 but enters on a 16-race losing streak (post 5 with Gabriel Saez at 10-1); Columbine Stable LLC’s Unrestricted, who has won four of ten lifetime starts and three of his last four for trainer Al Stall, Jr. (post 6 with Colby Hernandez at 12-1); Jeanne Marie Dolan’s (owner and trainer) Changi, who returns to Louisiana-bred company after competing against graded stakes company in three of his last five starts (post 7 with Mitchell Murrill at 8-1); Carl R. Moore Management LLC’s Carlea’s Dream, who will face fellow Louisiana-breds for the first time in 11 career starts off a recent runner-up performance in a second-level turf allowance on the Remington Park turf (post 8 with Brian Hernandez, Jr. at 8-1); Baronne Farm’s Sydster, who won the Crescent City Derby for trainer Eddie Johnston on March 21 at Fair Grounds (post 10 at 5-1 with Florent Geroux – cross entered in the Classic); Gerard Perron’s (owner and trainer) Kingdom Way, who won a restricted first-level allowance race on the Louisiana Downs turf in September in his most recent start (post 11 with Angel Suarez at 30-1); and the lone also eligible, Alston Thoroughbreds LLC, Earl J Hernandez and J. Duvieilh’s Jax Man, who has won two Louisiana-bred allowance races this year (post 12 with Marcelino Pedroza at 12-1).

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