Fair Grounds: ‘Santa’ Comes Early With Stakes Wins for Asmussen-Flores Team
Zayat Stable’s Prayer for Relief answered those of winning rider David Flores and winning trainer Steve Asmussen with a 6 1/4-length tally in the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the main event at the New Orleans oval’s six-stakes race Santa Super Saturday program.
Prayer for Relief returned mutuels of $9, $5.60 and $4, and toured the 1 1/16-miles over a fast main track in 1.43.78 after alternating for the lead early with splits of 24.21 and 48.19. The 5-year-old horse, starting high weight in the field with 120 pounds, increased his career earnings to $1,580,913 with his eighth win in 25 career starts.
“He put me in a spot where I wanted to be,” said Flores. “It’s never too early when you have the horse to make that kind of run.”
West Point Stable et al.’s Ground Transport stayed on for the place after setting the early fractions, paying $10.40 and $5.40 while finishing a head to the good of Robert and Lawana Low’s Agent Di Nozzo, who returned $2.80.
Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best proved wisest of all under a patient ride by jockey David Flores to win Saturday’s $75,000 “Buddy” Diliberto Memorial Handicap at about 1 1/16-miles over the Stall-Wilson turf course by 3 1/2-lengths.
Giving the tandem of Flores and Steve Asmussen their second straight win on Santa Super Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Daddy Nose Best paid $8, $5.20 and $4, he accomplished the distance in 1:44.53 and increased his career earnings to $867,303 with his eighth win in 23 career starts.
“He had great acceleration from the half-mile pole to the quarter pole and that’s when I went around the group,” said Flores. “When you have the best horse it is best that way.”
Long shot early leader Adios Nardo, owned by Diamond Racing et al., could not match the winner late held on to be easily second best after setting early fractions of 23.01 and 46.89. He returned $24.60 and $12.20. Three lengths in arrears of Adios Nardo was La Marca Stable’s Compliance Officer, who returned $5.80.