Fort Loudon, shortened up since an unsuccessful stint on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year, stalked 1-5 favorite Trinniberg , then took over down the stretch and prevailed by a neck to win the $150,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. III) July 7 at Calder Casino & Race Course (VIDEO) .
The Carry Back, for 3-year-olds going six furlongs, looked like Trinniberg’s race to lose. But the only graded stakes winner in the field, coming off a dynamic score in the June 9 Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II), couldn’t hold off Fort Loudon after leading at every call through swift fractions of :22.05, :44.71, and :57.19. Fort Loudon stopped the timer in 1:10.57. Both colts carried high weight of 122 pounds.
Fort Loudon, a son of Awesome of Course—Lottsa Talc, by Talc, races as a Florida homebred for Jacks or Better Farm. The Carry Back was his third consecutive stakes score at Calder. Under the training eye of Stanley Gold, Fort Loudon took the In Summation Stakes May 12 and returned to win the Unbridled Stakes June 9. As a 2 year old, Fort Loudon swept three contests in the Florida Stallion series of stakes, all at Calder. His 9-6-0-2 mark over the Calder oval helped make him the 9-5 second-choice in the Carry Back.
He paid $5.80 and $2.10, with Trinniberg returning $2.10 for the place. There was no show wagering on the Carry Back.
The Fort Loudon—Trinniberg exacta returned $7.60. Angelofdistinction was along for third, a whopping 13 3/4 lengths behind Trinniberg. Rex's Last Tour and It Takes Heart completed the order of finish following the scratches of Argentine Tango and Hello Prince.
Fernando Jara rode the winner, sitting just off the pace and to the outside of Trinniberg and Willie Martinez early. They never let the leader get more than a length ahead, and they were just a half length back entering the stretch. Jara got busy on Fort Loudon, who took the lead at the 1/16th pole and was all out to hold off the favorite close to home.
"We were pretty confident," said Jara. "Stanley told me not to let Trinniberg go by himself, and I didn't. My horse ran great."
Noted Martinez, "Fernando rode a great race and kept the pressure on me. That's horse racing; nothing is guaranteed."
Fort Loudon earned $93,000 for the victory, pushing his lifetime bank account to $568,485. He has won half of his 14 lifetime races, all the victories coming at Calder. Fort Loudon began the year finishing fourth in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), fifth in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and sixth in the grade I Florida Derby, all coming at Gulfstream Park. He also checked in seventh in last year’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.