Stonehouse shocked odds-on choice Friesan Fire in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) and Blues Street proved too much to handle in the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) in a pair of $100,000 events for older horses supporting the Fair Grounds program Feb. 20 (VIDEO).
Just five contested the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft, but 3-5 choice Friesan Fire, trying to take the field all the way, faded to fourth after faltering leaving the furlong pole.
Stonehouse, who edged past Friesan Fire in the stretch duel, fought off a determined General Quarters over the final furlong to win by a neck as the longest shot on the board at odds of 16-1. Giant Oak closed mildly to finish third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.
Friesan Fire, finishing 3 3/4 lengths behind Giant Oak, defeated only Good and Lucky.
Bridge jumpers were out in force. As a result, the winner paid $35.60, $9.20 and $27.60. General Quarters returned $3.60 and $18.40 as a 5-2 second favorite. Giant Oak was $13.60 to show as the 9-2 third choice. The exacta was worth $128.20.
Miguel Mena rode Stonehouse, Richard Rudolph's homebred 6-year-old son of Chester House--Jenny D. (by Regal Embrace), to victory for trainer Joseph "Spanky" Broussard. Stonehouse earned his first graded stakes win for Rudolph, who owns the bay horse in partnership with Michael Vranich.
“I had my little great-granddaughter Adelaide with me and she was my lucky charm," Broussard said. "He’s proven he’s a good horse. He’s raced everywhere. When he sees the truck he jumps right in.”
Friesan Fire led through fractions of :24.73, :48.20 and 1:12.17 for Shaun Bridgmohan while pressed closely by General Quarters, ridden by Robby Albarado. Friesan Fire appeared to have General Quarter's measure in upper stretch, but was tackled by Stonehouse, who closed on the outside. General Quarters kept fighting along the inside to make it close at the wire while Friesan Fire fell back. Giant Oak, with James Graham aboard, was last after six furlongs but angled out for the drive to get the third spot.
Stonehouse earned his sixth added-money victory. His overall record stands at 10-10-1 in 38 starts with earnings of $612,522. Stonehouse was comig off a fifth-place finish in the Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds Dec. 20. He has won four of 10 races at the New Orleans track.
Two races earlier on the card, the stalking Blues Street swept past Dubious Miss with a sixteenth of a mile to go to win the Fair Grounds Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf for his third consecutive victory.
With Javier Castellano aboard for the first time, the 9-5 choice waited patiently five lengths behind the leading quartet and barreled home on the outside to score by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:51.71 over firm going.
Todd Pletcher trains the winning 6-year-old gelding for Anstu Stables. Blues Street, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Cry--Capote Blues (by Capote), earned his first graded stakes win.
Acting Zippy, pushed along by Transduction Gold, Baltimore Bob and Dubious Miss, showed the way through soft quarter-mile fractions of :24.97, :49.99 and 1:13.82. Dubious Miss took the lead in the stretch for Patrick Valenzuela, with Baltimore Bob and Brian Hernandez Jr. chasing him home on the inside. But Blues Street quickly closed the gap in a drive, drawing off in the closing strides for Castellano.
“It felt great. I really like the way it developed," Castellano said. "I was very satisfied. I’d never got on the horse before."
Blues Street, carrying the co-high wight of 120 pounds, won for the seventh time in 21 starts and boosted his earnings to $307,178 with the winning share of $60,000. In his most recent start, Blues Street won an optional claiming allowance race at one mile over the Gulfstream Park turf Jan. 3. This was Blues Street's first start at Fairgrounds and his initial victory in four tries at nine furlongs.
Harriet Finkelstein bred the dark bay.
Blues Street paid $5.80, $3.60 and $3. Dubious Miss returned $9.80 and $6.60. It was 4 1/2 lengths to Baltimore Bob, who was $4.40 to show.
Transduction Gold, Gretsky, Silverfoot, Get Rich Quick and Acting Zippy completed the order. Secret Getaway was eased in the stretch.