Multiple graded stakes winner Good Samaritan is back in action and will make his 4-year-old debut in Saturday's Grade 2 $400,000 New Orleans Handicap, which kicks off a $200,000 guaranteed all stakes Pick 4 as the eighth race on Saturday afternoon.
Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, SF Racing LLC and Head of Plains Partners, the son of Harlan's Holiday has not run since a second-place finish behind Seeking The Soul in the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November. In his ten race career, he has proven himself consistent and competitive on both dirt and turf. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott started Good Samaritan out on grass as a 2-year-old; where he won at first asking over at Saratoga and went on to win Woodbine's G2 Summer Stakes in his following start. He then finished third in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf as the lukewarm favorite.
During his 3-year-old campaign, Good Samaritan raced on turf three times including two runner-up efforts in the G2 American Turf and Gr. III Pennine Ridge Stakes, before switching to the main track. In his first start on dirt, he won the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga and is looking for his first triumph since that win.
He has been training at Payson Park Training Center, where Mott is based during the winter months. In his last work, he drilled a half-mile in 48.40 on March 19.
“He obviously had a little break after the Clark which he ran real well in,” Mott's son and assistant Riley Mott said. “We got him down to Payson and he's some strong works. He looks good flesh wise and shipped great. We couldn't be happier with him.”
According to Mott, the timing for the New Orleans Handicap lined up well with the way that Good Samaritan had been training.
“It was just a matter of the horse showing us he ready,” Mott said. “We were hoping to have him ready this time of year to have him in full swing for the second part of the year. This race is obviously a good spot to come back in and he's doing great.”
Regular rider Joel Rosario will be aboard Good Samaritan who breaks from post five as the 8-5 morning line favorite.
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