A field of nine older horses that will travel 1 1/16 miles on turf were drawn for the Bradley Handicap, which shares top billing with the grade III Lecomte (gr. III) on Fair Grounds’ 13-race program. Also on the card is the $100,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $60,000 Louisiana Handicap, the first of three local races leading up to the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) March 26. The highly-regarded 4-year-old Apart tops the Louisiana Handicap field of seven.
Pin Oak Stable’s Strike Again defeated Feel the Thunder Stable’s Gran Estreno by three-quarters of a length in the Dec. 4 Buddy Dilberto over the same Fair Grounds turf course. The 5-year-old son of Dixie Union has worked twice for trainer Malcolm Pierce since that victory, which was his fifth in 15 lifetime starts. Miguel Mena has the mount.
Gran Estreno, twice claimed for $20,000, is a career earner of nearly $500,000 and has won 13 of 34 starts. Trained by Michael Stidham, the 8-year-old Lucky Roberto horse has won since his runner-up effort in the Dilberto, taking an optional claimer on Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds. The 5-2 morning-line choice will be ridden by Anna Napravnik.
Capable of providing strong competition for Gran Estreno and Strike Again are Midnight Mischief, runner-up in Churchill Downs’ River City Handicap (gr. IIIT); Red Strike, undefeated in two starts but third in the $60,000 Woodchopper at Fair Grounds after stumbling badly at the start; Dubious Miss, winner of Keeneland’s Ben Ali Handicap (gr. IIIT) last spring; Joinem, an allowance winner last month; and Southern Anthem, runner-up in Keeneland’s Sycamore (gr. III) last fall.
Adele Dilschneider’s Apart, winner of the Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs and Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill last fall, looms a strong 8-5 morning-line choice in the Louisiana Handicap. The 4-year-old Flatter colt was a non-factor when finishing seventh in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) in his season finale. He will face a couple of former Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starters, Recapturetheglory and Z Humor, among others.
$100,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 4:14 p.m. PST), 4 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Insider Tip (KY), B J Hernandez Jr., 114, N J Howard
2. Gran Estreno (ARG), A R Napravnik, 120, M Stidham
3. Red Strike (ON), J Graham, 114, M R Frostad
4. Joinem (KY), S Bridgmohan, 115, D M Carroll
5. Southern Anthem (KY), S J Sellers, 116, J D Thornbury
6. Dubious Miss (KY), C J Lanerie, 117, P J McGee
7. Strike Again (KY), M Mena, 121, M Pierce
8. Midnight Mischief (KY), J Theriot, 119, W I Mott
9. Amazing Results (IL), R E Eramia, 117, R R Scherer