James Jackson's Valhol rallied from just off the pace then held Parade Leader safely at bat to win the $125,000 Whirlaway Handicap at the Fair Grounds. On a fast track, the 6-year-old gelded son of Diazo completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.94.
Under jockey Jose Santos, Christophe Clement-trained Kalu set a slow early pace and held on to win in the $250,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) by 3/4-lengths over 2-1 favorite Proud Man Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course. The 3-year-old son of Honor Grades completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.49 of firm turf. After the race, Santos broke his right wrist when the horse reared up unexpectedly while heading to the winner's circle.
Seven 3-year-olds, including three horses that ran in Oaklawn Park's Rebel Stakes (gr. III), were nominated to the Visa Triple Crown and $5-million Visa Triple Crown Challenge before the March 31 late deadline. As a result of the new nominees, the total nominated to this year's series was 447, just short of the record 452 nominees to the three-race series in 1986.
Ranked in preference order, with horse/ trainer/breeding
Click on horse's name to access Contender Page
It took a giant leap of faith to see Fifty Stars as a contender in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), much less the $43 winner. Looking down the barrel at Dollar Bill, Millennium Wind, and Hero's Tribute, the late running son of Quiet American was in deep water. Fifty Stars had not made a lasting impression in his two previous races. His late run in the Jan. 27 LeComte was good for fourth place, but three weeks later he took a step backward in the Risen Star with a dull fifth-place finish.
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