Pin Oaks Stables' Synchrony has done no wrong in his three career starts over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course and will look to make it four-for-four in Saturday's Grade III $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap.
The Mike Stidham trained son of Tapit was a two-length winner of last year's edition of the Fair Grounds Handicap which he followed up with a triumph in the Grade II Muniz Memorial Stakes. Since then, he has recorded two Grade III wins over the turf at Monmouth Park in the Red Bank Stakes and Oceanport Stakes. Synchrony has not raced since a troubled third in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar on November 24. He is the 3-1 favorite for the mile-and-an-eighth event and will be guided by jockey Joe Bravo.
Back for redemption after finishing third in last year's Fair Grounds Handicap behind Synchrony is Chiefswood Stable's Tiz a Slam who has not raced since a fourth-place finish in the Grade I Canadian International stakes at Woodbine. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, the Ontario-bred son of Tiznow collected two back-to-back graded stakes wins at Woodbine last summer when taking the Grade III Dominion Day Stakes over the all-weather surface and the Grade II Nijinsky Stakes over the Toronto lawn. A win in the Fair Grounds Handicap would give Tiz a Slam his first victory outside of Woodbine. He will break from the rail under jockey Corey Lanerie at 8-1 morning line odds.
Fresh off a win in the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap last month is Team Valor's First Premio who won the event off of a seven-month layoff. The Mark Casse trained son of Pure Prize won his first stakes race last time out and will attempt his first score at graded stakes caliber.
“First Premio gave us such a big effort in his last start,” Casse said. “Hopefully he doesn't regress from that. That would be my biggest concern there. I think if things were to go well with him and we could get him into a nice race pattern and keep him healthy he could be one of the better turf horses around this year.'
He will break from post six under jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. as the 4-1 morning line second-choice.
Sir Dudley Digges (post two, Tyler Gaffalione, 10-1), Sun Lover (GB) (post three, Jack Gilligan, 30-1), Long On Luck (post four, Gabriel Saez, 30-1), Big Changes (post five, Florent Geroux, 6-1), Combatant (post seven, Jose Ortiz, 8-1), Markitoff (post eight, Manny Franco, 12-1), Great Wide Open (Ire.) (post ten, James Graham, 9-2), and Bandua (post 11, Adam Beschizza, 15-1) complete the field.
The Fair Grounds Handicap will go off as the 10th race on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford and has a scheduled post time of 4:57 p.m. CT. It is also the second leg of a $200,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4.
Earlier on the card, Beau Recall (post eight, Shaun Bridgmohan, 2-1) returns to action following a win in the Blushing K.D. Stakes on December 22 when she makes her 5-year-old debut in the $75,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes.
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing in partnership with Medallion Racing and trained by two-time leading Fair Grounds conditioner Brad Cox, the daughter of Sir Prancealot (Ire.) made her debut for the Cox barn a successful one last time out with a half-length victory in the Blushing K.D. She was previously under the care of southern California-based conditioner Simon Callaghan for whom she won the Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes last April. She boasts the highest amount of earnings in the field with a total of $444,912 in the bank.
Also a stakes winner this meet is Breeze Easy's Pretty Lady (post four, Adam Beschizza, 8-1) who won the Pago Hop Stakes on December 29 for trainer Joe Sharp. The 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy will seek her fourth career victory in Saturday's race. All of her three wins have taken place at Fair Grounds. Prior to the Pago Hop, she broke her maiden at third asking over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course before taking a first level allowance race over the local lawn on New Year's Day last year.
Mitchell Road (post one, Luis Saez, 6-1), Top Cats (Arg.) (post two, Julien Leparoux, 8-1), Coachwhip (post three, Ricardo Santana, Jr., 8-1), Coffee Crush (post five, Florent Geroux, 20-1), Kabella (post six, James Graham, 10-1), Dreams Are Free (post seven, Miguel Mena, 10-1), Promise of Spring (post nine, Gabriel Saez, 5-1), and Go Google Yourself (post 10, Joe Rocco, Jr., 10-1) round out the field.
The Albert M. Stall Memorial is named in honor of the prominent figure of the Louisiana Racing Commission and member of the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame. Stall was influential in introducing Sunday racing and exotic wagering to the state of Louisiana and was a former owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbreds. His son Al Stall, Jr. is a well-known trainer on the Fair Grounds backstretch and nationwide.
The Albert M. Stall Memorial stakes will go off as Race 4 and has a scheduled post time of 1:54 p.m. CT.
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