As mentioned in last week’s post, both Fair Grounds Racing Club horses were entered to run last weekend, with Efforting making her second return to the track to face other Louisiana-bred fillies on Saturday, March 4th. In this 6-furlong race, Efforting, as the favorite at 4–5 odds, met one of her previous rivals who was scratched from her first race—Shamrock Star (odds: 9–2), a daughter of Louisiana’s mighty Star Guitar, trained by Bret Calhoun.
Efforting’s post position as #4 worked against her in this race, for she was stuck on the inside and felt the most pressure, running extraordinarily fast fractions of 21.18 for the first quarter and 44.93 for the half mile! She dueled with Shamrock Star the entire way in a “tooth and nail battle” as described by race caller John Dooley, with Shamrock Star ultimately breaking away to beat Efforting by 3 lengths.
We are proud to report this second valiant effort by our girl Efforting, and in each of her races she has met formidable opponents; My Miss Chiff, the filly that beat her in her debut race, returned to the track last Sunday and won by 10 lengths. The plan is to race Efforting one last time during this Fair Grounds meet in another Louisiana-bred Maiden Special Weight race on Monday, March 27th (R3). Trainer Al Stall, Jr.’s plan for the filly for the summer is to first give her a bit of a break, and then race her at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, located outside Lafayette.
Excitations also returned to the track last weekend in an allowance race on Sunday at the distance of 1 mile 70 yards, his first try at a two-turn race at this longer distance (while facing horses with route race experience). Our colt, who went off as the 3–5 favorite, broke well and sat second on the backstretch; at the top of the stretch he began a three-way battle but faded to finish third behind the second favorite, Resiliency, for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Jockey Miguel Mena commented post-race that Excitations gave it his all and fought extremely hard. It is yet to be determined if this talented colt may be at his best at shorter distances like his sire—Into Mischief excelled at 7 furlongs—or if he just needs more experience at running route races. Stahl’s plan is for the colt to either run at Keeneland in early April, or give him more of a break and return during the Churchill meet in early May. Either way, the Times is “excited” to see what the future holds for this special colt!
The Times was not in New Orleans last weekend for these races, but Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes, who so graciously provided these horses to the Club, was at the track on Sunday for Excitations’ race. He is in the paddock photo on the right side near the sign, wearing the navy sport coat and tan sweater. Many thanks to Mr. Hughes for being an exceptional horseman and benefactor to the Club!
Antebellum Turf Times