(Edited press release)
Louisiana racing fans are wondering if Recapturetheglory will live up to his name when he returns to competition in the Feb. 15 opener at Fair Grounds.
Breaking from post one in the first race, the son of Cherokee Run is a fan favorite of a host of New Orleans natives who faithfully follow the fortunes of Thoroughbreds racing for co-owners Louie Roussel III and Ronnie Lamarque.
“I thought he worked great the other day,” said assistant trainer Lara Van Deren of Recapturetheglory’s bullet five-furlong move in 1:00.40 on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 7. “I’d been working him myself up to that point, but James (Graham) was up the other day and he was just as pleased as I was with his move.
“Recapturetheglory’s win in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) was a huge race, and I think the training he got at Fair Grounds last winter helped out a lot,” Van Deren continued. “It’s a very good track to train on, and when he raced that day in Chicago, he was full of run.
“When the Kentucky Derby came along I thought he ran a nice race there, too,” said Van Deren of Recapturetheglory’s fifth-place effort behind (eventual Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old Big Brown). “I think he could have run even better, but he really got freaked out by the big Derby Day crowd in Louisville. He was very unsettled that day because of the noise. He’s kind of a claustrophobic horse. He sees everything and he hears everything, so after that we put started putting cotton in his ears for the trip to the gate and taking it out after he got to the gate.
“It was in his last start in the 2008 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) that he got hurt. After that race, he had to have a small chip taken out of his knee, and I think the time off has done him a lot of good. He’s grown a lot and put on a lot of weight. I think it was just what he needed.”