NEW ORLEANS — A filly accustomed to standing in the winner’s circle at the Fair Grounds Race Course is the odds-on favorite in Saturday’s feature race at the facility’s Super Santa Saturday slate of races.
James Miller’s Daisy Devine, who won the 2011 Fair Grounds Oaks in addition to other races last year, will go off as the 4-5 favorite in the $75,000 Blushing K.D. Handicap, a 11?16-mile turf race for 3-year-old- and-up fillies and mares.
Daisy Devine is coming off seven turf starts in recent months, including a victory in last month’s Grade III Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs. While Daisy Devine is getting over a minor skin disease she contracted after the Churchill win, trainer Andy McKeever said the filly should be ready for the Blushing ’Cap Saturday.
“She looks well,” McKeever said. “She’s the favorite (Saturday), so we’re hoping for a good result.”
McKeever said the Fair Grounds’ turf track looks good for Saturday’s contests, but Daisy Devine will be ready for any conditions she and her competition face.
“She can run on a soft track,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. Everything looks good.”
With Daisy Devine’s recent heavy schedule and skin issue, McKeever didn’t push her too much leading up to Saturday’s fifth running of the Blushing Handicap.
“We’re just getting ready for the race,” he said. “We don’t have to train her very hard.”
Super Santa Saturday has developed into a fairly big day The festivities include two other $75,000 turf stakes contests as well as family day activities like two live reindeer, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating and ornament making. The family day lineup runs from 12-4 p.m., while the 12-race card launches at 1 p.m.
“This day is certainly getting pretty good national attention,” said stalwart trainer Tom Amoss, whose Coastal Sunrise, a 2-year-old filly, is competing in the ninth race of the day, a six-furlong, $60,000-purse sprint. “It kind of stands by itself. It’s great for the Fair Grounds.”
Amoss said Coastal Sunrise will face some stiff competition in her race, even though she’s the overwhelming favorite. He said that’s proof Super Santa Saturday has started to attract some talented mounts and riders.
“She’s going to have to improve to win,” he said. “That gives you an idea of how tough the races will be.”