String King, the Louisiana-bred gelding who has earned $890,552 for owner-breeder-trainer Charles Craig Smith, will be seeking his third straight win in the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic at Harrah's Louisiana Downs Casino & Racetrack Aug. 8. Harrah's Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack, Saturday, August 08, 2015, Race 1
At 1 1/16 miles on grass, the Cup Turf Classic is one of eight races, including seven stakes on the card, with six of those stakes restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds.
The aptly named current king of Louisiana racing, String King has won 16 of 36 starts, with 12 additional placings. Included among his victories are 11 stakes, the most prominent of which is the Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) earlier this year at Fair Grounds Race Track & Slots.
Breaking from the rail in the $75,000 Cup Turf, String King will carry topweight of 124 pounds including jockey Richard E. Eramia, who was aboard for a game victory in the Louisiana Legends Turf at Evangeline Downs July 4.
Also entered in the Cup Turf are Drewssasin and Galveston Harbor, the respective second- and third-place finishers in the Louisiana Legends Turf. A 4-year-old gelded son of Freud , Drewssasin made all the pace in the Legends Turf at 25-1 odds before succumbing late to String King. Galveston Harbor, a 5-year-old Belgravia gelding, has won or placed in 17 of 25 starts.
Others expected to give String King a run for his money in the 11-horse field are Hopeful Notion, who has finished first or second in 11 of 19 career starts; Heavy On Themister, who is 10-9-3 from 37 outings and most recently finished second in the Louisiana Legends Classic; and Well's Gold, a veteran campaigner with a 14-11-5 record in 41 starts who was claimed for $17,500 in his last race, a 7 1/4-legnth romp.
The richest race on the card at $100,000, the open Super Derby Prelude Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for 3-year-olds drew a field of eight, headed by multiple stakes winners Mobile Bay and Four Leaf Chief. Mobile Bay, a Tigertail Ranch homebred trained by Victor Arceneaux, was unraced at 2 but the colt has come on to win four of his eight starts this year, including a one-length triumph over Four Leaf Chief in the off-the-turf Louisiana Legends Cheval Stakes at Evangeline Downs July 4.
Four Leaf Chief, a Lookin At Lucky colt trained by Steven Flint for Carol Castille's Whispering Oaks Farm, has won or placed in eight of 12 starts and earned $246,300. The three-time stakes winner was bred in Louisiana by Relentless Racing and Ashford Stud and was a $65,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase.
Heatseeker Sharon and Zara Lauren share topweight of 124 pounds in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, also at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for fillies and mares, 3 and up. A 4-year-old Heatseeker homebred for John Duvieilh and Keith and Earl Hernandez, Heatseeker Sharon has two wins, six runner-up finishes, and a fourth (1 1/4 lengths behind the winner) in her last nine starts, highlighted by a win in the Louisiana Legends Distaff last out.
Zara Lauren, claimed by owner Wayne T. Davis and trainer Shane Wilson for $15,000 in March, has bankrolled $162,382 as the 5-year-old Zanjero mare compiled a record of 8-2-5 from 27 starts, including a victory in the Louisiana-Bred Premier Night Ladies Starter Stakes.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Persuade Me Lady (LA) Donald Edward Simington 118 W. Bret Calhoun - 2 2Afternoon Tango (LA) Colby J. Hernandez 124 Patrick Devereux, Jr. - 3 3Another Pinot (LA) Luis A. Batista 122 Andrew Leggio, Jr. - 4 4Aliana (LA) Chris R. Rosier 122 Morris G. Nicks - 5 5Solid Sender (LA) Gerard Melancon 120 Samuel Breaux - 6 6Catherine's Dream (LA) Richard E. Eramia 118 Patrick Mouton - 7 7Rebel Woman (LA) Odilon Martinez 116 Ronda Hutchinson -
Harrah's Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack, Saturday, August 08, 2015, Race 1