When trainer Tom Amoss sees War Story, he sees a possible chance at redemption.
The Northern Afleet owned 2-year-old overcame early trouble to win by nearly 3 lengths in a one-mile allowance race on Sunday at the Fair Grounds.
With the win, War Story improved his career earnings to $48,600 and lifetime record to two wins in two starts after another near 3-length victory at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1. With the success he’s already had, many have high hopes for the 2-year-old going forward.
“It’s an exciting time for War Story; we’re just hoping he keeps moving forward in preparation for that big race in March,” Amoss said, referring to the $750,000 Louisiana Derby, which will be held on March 28.
Amoss had the horse that finished second in the 2013 Louisiana Derby — My Lute — and he still views the Louisiana Derby as a special race for him. He doesn’t want to put any added pressure on the gelding, but he views War Story as a horse with enough potential to give him another chance to add that elusive Louisiana Derby to his illustrious resumé.
“I grew up in New Orleans,” he said. “I’ve been going to the track since I was probably 11- or 12-years-old, I would love to win a big race like that.”
While Amoss admits that talking about War Story in the context of the Louisiana Derby is like “talking about LSU winning next year’s national championship”, he does view it as a goal that he hopes to reach, but he knows it will be a long process.
“Not all of the quick 2-year-olds are able to develop into big, strong 3-year-olds that can compete these long races,” Amoss said. “We like our chances and we like the way we’re developing, but beyond that it’s anybody’s guess.”
The next step for War Story could be the $200,000 Leconte Stakes on Jan. 17. Amoss said they are still undecided if War Story will race in the Lecomte.
Holmark Stables VI’s Bourbon Cowboy finished second in last week’s $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at the Fair Grounds, but his strong performance may have opened up some opportunities for the 2-year-old.
Bourbon Cowboy finished second by a half-length to multiple-stakes winner Cinco Charlie, which added his fourth finish in the exacta over his six starts and a place in two stakes. His performance on the dirt course surprised many.
Bourbon Cowboy’s conditioner Richie Scherer said , the colt is nominated for the Leconte on Jan. 17 and since he was a $50,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April, he is eligible to to compete in the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes on Jan. 27.
Scherer said that it is still up in the air what the next race will be for the colt, but either race is a possibility.
Steve Asmussen Trio
Trainer Steve Asmussen has three locally based 3-year-olds that also may be a possibility for the Leconte on Jan. 17.
Asmussen had all three — Mike McCarty’s Tiznow R J, Clark Brewster’s Bayerd and William and Corinne Heilgbrodt’s Cinco Charlie — working out recently at the Fair Grounds, but Tiznow R J is the most likely to participate in the Lecomte, to Asmussen said.
Bayerd recently registered a victory at the $250,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park and Cinco Charlie, a four-time stakes winner, has begun to get his first work in since winning at Dec. 20’s Sugar Bowl Stakes.
After missing the last month with a shoulder injury, jockey and regular rider of Louisiana Champion Sunbean, Richard Eramia will be out an additional four weeks with his injury, agent Rick Mocklin said.
Eramia hurt his shoulder on the gallop-out following a race at the Fair Grounds on Nov. 29. The horse he riding, Shadwell Stable’s Atoof, got spooked and dumped Eramia.
Eramia finished third in last year’s Fair Grounds jockey race and has already amassed 219 victories on the year, which is good for 13th place nationally.
Apprentice jockey Andre Ramgeet, who is ranked seventh in both wins (10) and purse earnings ($228,550) at the current Fair Grounds meet, suffered multiple injuries after Gator Jack stumbled badly entering the far turn and dumped Ramgeet in Friday’s fourth race.
Ramgeet was struck by multiple horses after the fall and taken to the hospital via ambulance and reportedly has a broken clavicle and a skull fracture on the side of his head.
Ramgeet is the son of three-time Jamaican champion jockey Andrew Ramgeet.