Delta Downs hosted its second richest program of the year on Saturday night as the track played host to Louisiana Premier Night. The annual event featured 10 stakes races for Louisiana-bred horses and over $1,000,000 in total purse money.
The featured event on the program was the LAPN Championship for older horses competing at 1 1/16 miles. Fans made The Picket Factor the heavy 3-5 favorite in the race but it was Fruition Racing LLC's Stormdriver who crashed the party with a come-from-behind victory under jockey Diego Saenz.
Stormdriver defeated last year's winner One King's Man, by 1-1/4 lengths. The Pickett Factor wound up another half-length behind the runner-up in third.
Stormdriver covered the distance over a fast track in a time of 1:45.67.
“Diego looked like he was loaded with this horse,” said winning trainer Patrick Devereaux, Jr. after he watching his charge stalk an early speed duel between The Pickett Factor, Deep Bottom and Know You Now through early fractions of 22.57 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.22 for the half. “After they went about three-eighths of a mile I felt really confident. He handled this racetrack well tonight.”
The win by Stormdriver marked the eighth of his 32-race career. He earned $120,000 for his effort and has now placed $451,667 into his lifetime bankroll.
Stormdriver is a 6-year-old horse by Discreet Cat out of the Take Me Out mare Prom Date. He was bred in Louisiana by Tigertail Ranch.
Sent to the gate at odds of 6-1, Stormdriver returned $14.80 to win, $7.40 to place and $2.60 to show. One King's Man was worth $4.80 to place and $2.10 to show. The Pickett Factor was worth $2.10 to show.
In other action Saturday it was Rowell Enterprises Inc.'s Heitai winning his third consecutive $100,000 LAPN Sprint, also with Diego Saenz in the saddle. The victory marked the first career stakes win for trainer Eduardo Ramirez. All three of Heitai's LAPN victories have come for different conditioners. In 2014 he was saddled by Karl Broberg and last year he was sent out by Tom Amoss.
This year's $150,000 LAPN Distaff was taken by Forest Lake, who was ridden to victory by Hector Santiago. Forrest Lake is owned by Set-Hut LLC of former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme and is conditioned by Jake's father, Jerry Delhomme.
The $125,000 LAPN Prince saw Icy Gentleman storm down the stretch to victory under jockey Jorge Guzman. Icy Gentleman is trained by Henry B. Johnson, Jr. and is owned by Ironwater Farms Joint Venture.
Smittys Cougar was victorious in the $125,000 LAPN Starlet with jockey Richard Eramia up. Smittys Cougar is conditioned by Ron Faucheux and is owned by Roger G. Smith.
This year's $100,000 LAPN Matron was annexed by World War IV Racing's Diamond Cutter, who carried jockey Gerardo Mora to victory for trainer Pamela Simpson.
To complete the set of 10 rich races on Saturday night were four starter stakes. The $65,000 LAPN Gentlemen Starter was won by Hardy Racing Stables LLC's Watch My Smoke; the $65,000 LAPN Ladies Starter was taken by Dale White, Sr.'s Tough Jeans; the $50,000 LAPN Bon Temps Starter was won by Randy J. Stone's Leave Em Counting; and the $50,000 LAPN Ragin Cajun Starter saw Witch Hunt finish first.
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