Gigawatt Shines in Louisiana Handicap

Edited release from Fair Grounds
Gigawatt broke on top from his outside post and never looked back, running off to capture the $60,000 Louisiana Handicap in front-running fashion Friday at Fair Grounds.

On paper, the 4-year-old son of Wild Again looked like the lone speed in the 1 1/16-mile event for older horses, and shortly after the gates broke that proved to be true, as jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. and Gigawatt loped to a clear lead down the backstretch through a moderate half-mile in 48.04. As they rounded the far turn, Kodema, who was closest to Gigawatt in the early running, tried to get on even terms, but never reached Gigawatt's flank, as the speedy gelding opened up on the field turning for home.

Alumni Hall, the 2-1 favorite in the field of seven, took up the chase in the lane, but could not close the margin on Gigawatt, who crossed the wire alone in 1:43.58, 2 1/4 lengths clear of Alumni Hall. Kodema was another 3 3/4 lengths back for third in the field of seven older horses.

"Everything went perfect," said Hernandez, who was riding his first card as a journeyman after his final day as an apprentice jockey on Thursday. "We knew they didn't have a lot of speed in the race, so we took advantage of that. He was conditioned very well by Mr. Flint, and it showed today."

Trainer Steve Flint claimed Gigawatt for owner Steve Ramsey on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, a race which Gigawatt won by 6 1/2 lengths. Gigawatt captured a money allowance on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill for his new connections in his last start before Friday.

"We claimed him for $40,000 at Churchill Downs," said Flint, who is enjoying his first winter stabled at Fair Grounds. "This was Mr. Ramsey's first horse that he purchased. What an experience. We think that he is a grass horse, but with a small field and not much speed, we thought we had a good chance."

Said Ramsey, "This is my first horse, and the excitement of winning is incredible. All the credit goes to Steve, who picked him out."

Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, Gigiwatt has one seven of 19 career starts.

(Chart, Equibase)