Mystery Giver Tries for 3rd Stakes at Fair Grounds

(from Fair Grounds report)
Team Block's Mystery Giver will be on familiar turf Saturday when he goes for his third consecutive victory in the $125,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Stakes against nine foes.

Mystery Giver won the 2002 and 2003 renewals of the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup, which are his lone wins over the local course. He enters this year's running against a strong field off a two-month break.

In November, he won the Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. III) for owner/breeders Team Block, and has been shifted to the barn of trainer Richard Scherer for the winter. Jockey Robby Albarado, who was aboard for last year's race, reunites with the Illinois-bred Saturday. Mystery Giver will break from the rail as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.

Warleigh, who has been installed as the early 3-1 favorite, exits the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap earlier this month, where he was caught at the wire by Skate Away to finish second.

Jockey Shane Sellers was aboard the 6-year-old son of Lord At War for trainer Steve Asmussen in his last, and gets the mount again Saturday. Warleigh breaks from post No. 4, where he is sure to be prominent early.

The winner of the Bradley, Skate Away, is back in hopes of prolonging his streak over the course for trainer Jeff Trosclair. The son of Belong to Me showed improvement in his last when the blinkers were removed, and he gets the services of regular rider Gerard Melancon.

Skate Away, starting from post No. 7, finished fourth behind Mystery Giver in last year's running.

Another strong contender is the ever-consistent Freefourinternet. The Joan Scott trainee enters Saturday in top form, fresh off a narrow defeat to Sir Cherokee two weeks ago in the Maxxam Gold Cup on dirt at Sam Houston Park.

Prior to that effort, the son of Tabasco Cat finished fourth behind Skate Away in the Bradley. That day, Freefourinternet fell some 12 lengths out of it in the early stages and was at the mercy of a modest pace. His connections hope that with the addition of more pace this time around, his strong closing kick will be in greater evidence. Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. picks up the mount on the 6-year-old, who will break from post No. 6.

A pair of 4-year-olds, Waupaca and Gentlemen J J, were the top two finishers in last month's Woodchopper Handicap for 3-year-olds. They face older horses in stakes company for the first time.

Trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, Waupaca has trained forwardly at his winter base of Oaklawn Park since winning the Woodchopper, which produced the fastest time at 1 1/16 mile thus far at the current meet. The speedy son of Forest Wildcat is sure to add to what looks to be a contentious pace. Jockey Frank Lovato Jr. picks up the mount. Waupaca will break from post No. 3.

Gentlemen J J owns two wins and two seconds in four starts over the local sod, and looks to be in top form. He steps up in class Saturday, but hails from the capable barn of Andrew Leggio, who won last year's Explosive Bid with Candid Glen at odds of 84-1. Corey Lanerie gets the call aboard Gentlemen J J, who should be storming home in the late stages.

$125,000 Fair Grounds Breeder's cup Stakes, 4 & up, about 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse (Jockey, Wgt.)
1. Mystery Giver (Robby Albarado, 120)
2. Great Bloom (Larry Melancon, 116)
3. Waupaca (Frank Lovato Jr., 117)
4. Warleigh (Shane Sellers, 118)
5. Gin and Sin (Kirk LeBlanc, 113)
6. Freefourinternet (Eddie Martin Jr., 120)
7. Skate Away (Gerard Melancon, 118)
8. Gentlemen J J (Corey Lanerie, 115)
9. Storybook Kid (E.J. Perrodin, 114)
10. Act of War (Curt Bourque, 113)