Sam-Son Farms’ French Beret will have a tough time defending his title in the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) Jan. 6 at Fair Grounds, as an evenly-matched field of 10 goes to post in the 1 1/16-mile turf event.
The race is the second of six stakes on the Fair Gounds program, which is highlighted by the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.
Trained by Mark Frostad, French Beret is winless in 11 starts since taking the 2008 E.R. Bradley at 11-1 under James Graham. The 6-year-old Ontario-bred Broad Brush gelding has been graded stakes-placed three times since his last victory, and most recently was runner-up in optional claiming company last out at Fair Grounds.
Graham gets the return call on French Beret, who is 3-6-10 from 33 lifetime starts with earnings of $585,114.
Sam-Son Farms and Frostad will also send out Windward Islands as part of a coupled entry. A 5-year-old son of Cozzene, Windward Islands returned to action in October after being sidelined for nearly a year. He won on the Keeneland turf in allowance company and since then has finished off the board in two starts, including a sixth-place finish in the Dec. 13 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder. Corey Lanerie will be in the irons.
Five E.R. Bradley starters enter off of victories, including Millard Seldin Revocable Trust’s Golden Yank, who has won consecutive stakes. Trained by Gary Thomas, Golden Yank concluded a solid 3-year-old campaign by taking the Oklahoma Derby Oct. 19 at Remington Park and the Dec. 6 Zia Park Derby by 6 3/4 lengths. Both wins came on dirt.
Golden Yank, who is 5-2-2 from 13 lifetime starts, has tried the grass twice, finishing runner-up both times. The most recent grass try was in the June 14 Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs when he rallied to finish four lengths in back of Tizdejavu. Jamie Theriot, aboard for that start and his last two wins, will get the call.
Coming off of victories at Fair Grounds are Kinsman Stable’s Classic Campaign and Don Benge’s Wise River, who defeated French Beret in the Dec. 19 optional claimer. Classic Campaign, trained by Bill Mott, scored in the Nov. 28 Buddy Dilberto Memorial Handicap on the sloppy main track last out. It was 7-year-old Rahy gelding’s first win in eight starts in 2008.
Red Rock Creek, owned and trained by Steve Asmussen, has won consecutive dirt starts at Remington Park, including the Governor’s Cup on Dec. 14. The 8-year-old Numerous gelding also won a one-mile turf event at Remington back in September, when he rallied from way off the pace to win going away.
Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Tend has reeled off three straight wins for trainer Albert Stall Jr. The 4-year-old Dynaformer colt won an allowance event on the Keeneland Polytrack in October, an optional claimer on the slop at Fair Grounds the following month, and most recently, prevailed after a stretch duel in the Sam’s Town Stakes at Delta Downs. Julien Leparoux will ride in Tend’s turf debut.