The Player wins the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland

The Player wins the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland

Rick Samuels

The Player Ready for Battle in New Orleans

New Orleans Handicap also marks 4-year-old debut of Good Samaritan.

After ending a two-race skid in impressive fashion, The Player will try to keep his momentum going March 24 in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Campaigned by his trainer, Buff Bradley, and Carl Hurst, The Player enters Saturday's 1 1/8-mile test for older horses off a 4 1/4-length score in the Mineshaft Handicap (G3) Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds. That effort marked a rebound after the son of Street Hero closed out 2017 with a fifth-place finish in the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) and opened his 5-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish as the 4-5 favorite in the Louisiana Stakes.

After the Mineshaft, Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel said he thought The Player benefited from the addition of blinkers for that race.

Last year, The Player turned heads when he rolled to a three-length score in the Haygard Fayette Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. He has continued to capture attention through "his" active Facebook page, where he has more than 1,000 fans following his every move.

The Player figures to again use his early speed Saturday, when he starts from the rail as the 122-pound highweight in a field that includes last year's Jim Dandy Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2) winner, Good Samaritan, making his 4-year-old debut under a 117-pound impost.

Campaigned by breeder WinStar Farm along with China Horse Club, SF Racing, and Head of Plains, Good Samaritan closed out 2017 with a runner-up finish in the Clark Handicap, where he finished ahead of The Player. The Clark marked the second grade 1 placing for the son of Harlan's Holiday, who finished third in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T).

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Good Samaritan has worked three times in March, including a half-mile breeze in a bullet :48 2/5 March 19 at Payson Park Training Center.

Also entered Saturday are multiple graded stakes winner Scuba, who finished third in the Mineshaft; grade 2-placed stakes winner Han Sense; grade 3-placed Leofric; and two-time winner Hollywood Handsome.

Entries: New Orleans H. (G2)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, March 24, 2018, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $400,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:39 PM (local)
11The Player (KY)Calvin H. Borel122William B. Bradley9/5
22Hollywood Handsome (KY)Jose L. Ortiz113Dallas Stewart15/1
33Scuba (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux119Brendan P. Walsh9/2
44Han Sense (IA)Joe Bravo114Michael J. Maker12/1
55Good Samaritan (KY)Joel Rosario117William I. Mott8/5
66Leofric (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano116Brad H. Cox9/2