Populist Politics is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes.

Populist Politics is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes.

Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.

LA Champions Day: Populist Politics At Last?

With Star Guitar retired, a new state-bred ruler could emerge at Fair Grounds Dec. 8.

Populist Politics and Get in Da House are set to match strides in the 22nd running of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic—main event of eight Thoroughbred stakes races restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds Dec. 8 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Klaravich Stable’s Populist Politics, who has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite, and Get in Da House, the 7-2 second choice, last met when second and third, respectively, a neck apart in Fair Grounds’ $90,000 Southern Oaks Plantation Costa Rising Stakes on Louisiana Derby (gr. II) Day in the spring.

That afternoon the two were narrowly defeated by Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar , who became the richest Louisiana-bred horse of all time with his victory by a head in that race.

Both Populist Politics and Robert Orth and Wes Hawley’s Get in Da House are viable candidates to inherit the state-bred showcase role of Star Guitar, who won the last three renewals of the 1 1/8-mile Classic before being retired over the summer. Populist Politics breaks from post 3 under jockey James Graham and a 118-pound impost, while Get in Da House, trained by Wesley Hawley, drew the outside in a field of 11 under Miguel Mena carrying the same.

“Hopefully, next weekend, Populist Politics will get the opportunity to show he’s the heir apparent,” trainer Tom Amoss remarked. “He’s doing well now. He’s gotten much better since he developed that little breathing issue last summer when we had to ease him in (the $200,000 West Virginia Governors Cup) at Mountaineer. He never really had great airways before, but hopefully we’ve gotten that resolved now.”

Last time out, Populist Politics was second by 2 3/4 lengths to Scott Boudreax, Donald Gaudet and Eddie Johnston’s Lee's Spirit in the Oct. 27 Gold Cup Stakes at Delta Downs.

“He ran a good race at Delta in his last start,” Amoss said. “He finished second that day, but Delta is a real small track with tight turns. The track here at Fair Grounds has big, wide turns and he likes that a lot better.”

Lee's Spirit and Rebecca Farms and T. J. Dickey’s Heavy On Themister, third in that same race, are also considered strong threats in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic. They share high weight of 124 pounds.

Because of the expanded 13-race program set for Louisiana Champions Day, a special early post time of 12:15 p.m. CST will be in effect at Fair Grounds. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., when the first 750 fans will be able to pick up free Star Guitar T-shirts courtesy of Brittlyn Stable. The first 5,000 fans will be given free Star Guitar posters courtesy of Fair Grounds. Post time for the Classic, Race 11, is 5:18 p.m.

On the undercard, Charles Craig Smith’s String King, victor by a nose in last year’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf, has been made the 9-5 morning line choice to defend his title in the 2012 renewal.

Bred and trained by his owner, String King won the Mr. Sulu Stakes at Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving’s Opening Day program.

Red Oak Stable’s Kissimmee Kyle, who finished second to String King in last year’s Champions Day Turf, is the 4-1 second choice in the early line.

The other Thoroughbred stakes races slated for Louisiana Champions Day are the $100,000 LCD Juvenile for 2-year-olds, $100,000 LCD Lassie for 2-year-old fillies, $100,000 LCD Ladies for older fillies and mares, $100,000 LCD Ladies Sprint for sprinters in that same division, $100,000 LCD Sprint open to all Louisiana-bred speedsters, and $50,000 LCD Handicap Stakes for state-breds 3-years-old and up.

Three $100,000 stakes for accredited Louisiana-bred American Quarter Horses open the program.

Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes (Race 11, approximate post 5:18 p.m. CST), 3YO & Up, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Lovely Vin, S. Bridgmohan, 115, T M Amoss, 12-1
2. Fate’s Right Hand, J. Riquelme, 115, R R Robinson, 20-1
3. Populist Politics, J. Graham, 118, T M Amoss, 3-1
4. Ten to Midnight, C McMahon, 118, S Ishaq, 20-1
5. Heavy On Themister, R. Napravnik, 124, S M David, 5-1
6. Make It Roses, M. Guidry, 118, R Courville, 30-1
7. Watch My Smoke, B J Hernandez, Jr., 118, M Lovell, 6-1
8. Lee’s Spirit, J. Jacinto, 124, E J Johnston, 9-2
9. Ideformthebayou, K P LeBlanc, 118, R Courville, 12-1
10. Break Up, G. Melancon, 118, BA Brinkman, 15-1
11. Get in Da House, M. Mena, 118, W E Hawley, 7-2