Bluff needed a third trip around the Fair Grounds during the 2014-15 season to show race fans what he can accomplish at a mile and 70 yards.
On Jan. 22, Bluff, the son of 2014 champion sire Tapit, did just that, dominating a maiden by 53/4 lengths, more than enough to overshadow two earlier starts that didn’t end nearly as well.
Trainer Larry Jones said expectations on Bluff haven’t changed, even as he’s shown enough grit recently to be considered for the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (Feb. 21). No, Jones and his crew had already seen enough out of Bluff in the morning at the Gentilly race track.
All they needed on a race day was a little luck in terms of positioning, and Bluff could show off what they had already witnessed.
“Everything went well,” Jones said of Bluff’s third start. “He has a lot of potential to be a good horse.”
Probables for the race include: Eagle, the favorite entering last month’s Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds before finishing seventh; International Star, which utilized a strong finish to win the Lecomte; Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red.
The field for the Risen Star Stakes will be set on Feb. 16.
Gantry racing days over?
Gantry may have ran his last race at the Fair Grounds.
The 8-year-old gelded son of Pulpit is dealing with an inflamed ankle joint, and trainer Ron Faucheux Jr. doesn’t want to press the issue with the horse that gave him his first two stakes victories.
Gantry won his last race, a 5½-furlong turf allowance on Dec. 11.
Since then, Gantry has earned five of his seven stakes wins at the Fair Grounds, including the Grade II $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (July 2012) and the Thanksgiving Handicap (2011, 2013). He has 11 wins in 27 starts.
“He’s been great to us,” Faucheux said. “He’s taken me, owner Evelyn Benoit and our stable to a different level, and we don’t want to risk any further injury.”
Gantry’s career winnings totaled $848,331.
‘Rosie Day’ set
The Fair Grounds will celebrate “Rosie Day” on Feb. 21, commemorating the winner of four consecutive rider titles at the Fair Grounds, earning more than $15 million.
Rosie Napravnik retired last year with wins in 49 stakes races, including the Grade II Louisiana Derby and Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks twice.
From 12:30-2 p.m., up to 500 fans will be able to purchase a $10 commemorative photo that can be personalized and autographed by Napravnik while supplies last. All proceeds will benefit Napravnik’s favorite charities.