There may have been an anxious moment or two, but in the end the heavy favorites of both divisions of the Louisiana Futurity got the job done on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.
In the colts and geldings division, Valene Farms' Classy John held off the late advances of Jimi's a Star to win by a diminishing three-quarters of a length. Guided by jockey Corey Lanerie, the son of Songandaprayer broke sharply and pressed pacesetter Why Not Charlie through an opening quarter in 22.05. Classy John put that rival away nearing the turn, but was asked by Lanerie at the three-sixteenths pole as Jimi's a Star loomed a challenge on the far outside. Classy John held Jimi's a Star, posting a final six furlong time of 1:11.67 in the slop. Café Du Monde finished a non-threatening third.
“He had me a worried for a little bit,” Lanerie said. “He went kind of quick early but he's a fast horse and I didn't want to take anything away from him.”
Trained by Dallas Stewart, Classy John won the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes earlier in the meet and broke his maiden against open company in his career debut at Saratoga. His lone defeat took place against winners at Churchill Downs behind stakes placed Hog Creek Hustle.
“He ran great,” Stewart said. “I'm very proud of him. He's such a nice horse. He's been to Saratoga and ran big at Churchill. He's just a very quality colt. A big thank you goes out to Murray and Jerry Valene for giving me the opportunity to train this horse.”
It was the third win in four career outings for Classy John, who upped his earnings to $171,650.
As the heavy 1-9 favorite, Classy John returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 while Jimi's a Star brought back $.00 and $2.10. Café Du Monde paid $2.10 to show.
Shae's Day and Why Not Charlie completed the order of finish.
In the fillies division three races later, Carl R. Moore Management's Midnight Fantasy was stuck between horses early, made the lead, then gave it up before taking full command nearing the turn and drawing off to a convincing ten-length score.
Trained by Joe Sharp and guided to victory by Adam Beschizza, the daughter of Midnight Lute completed thee six furlong voyage over a sloppy track in 1:11.62. Miss Bitters finished a distant second and Goodprofit rounded out the trifecta.
Completing the order of finish were Raising the Ante, Its Misty in Paris, Cohenscollegefund and Scat At Ms. Pat's.
“She's always had sort of an easy lead in her last couple of wins,” Beschizza said. “Today was a bit of a challenge but we're still looking forward with her. She's always been a filly that Joe has held in high regard and hopefully she can live up to her expectations and keep on improving.”
Midnight Fantasy won her first two starts by a combined 12¾ lengths, which took place in a state-bred maiden special weight on Opening Day and the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes.
“It was good for her to have to take back a bit and sit off another horse,” Sharp said. “Mentally she's just been rock solid since day one. At some point she was going to have to do that so it was nice. One of these days she'll get a fast track again, but she seems to handle whatever we throw at her so far.”
Sharp did not rule out the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes as a possible next start for Midnight Fantasy and also mentioned the $100,000 Louisiana Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes at Delta Downs on February 9.
“We'll talk about it. It's either (the Silverbulletday Stakes) or Delta,” Sharp said. “We'll get her back and cool her out. Every option is open at this point.”
With a win in the fillies division of the Louisiana Futurity, Midnight Fantasy has now earned a total of $138,060. As the heavy 1-9 favorite, she returned $2.10 across the board while Miss Bitters paid $5.60 and $2.60. Goodprofit brought back $2.10.
Bred in Louisiana by J. Addock and Hume Wornall, Midnight Fantasy was purchased for $77,000 from this year's Equine Sales of Louisiana 2-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale where she was consigned by Pike Racing.
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