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Louisiana Derby hopefuls post final moves
Grade 3 Gotham Stakes third Finnegans Wake sped five-eighths in :59 4/5 over Fair Grounds' fast main track on Saturday ahead of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1.
"I thought the work was perfect," said Tammy Fox, the New Orleans native and wife of trainer Dale Romans who was aboard for the breeze. "He did everything that Dale wanted me to do with him. He handled the track really good. He was looking around a little bit but that's what he does. He finished really well and did it all on his own."
Finnegans Wake worked through even 12-second splits of :12, :24, :36 and :48 before finishing the final eighth in :11 4/5.
Fox said the son of Powerscourt will gallop just before the renovation break for the rest of this week.
Comisky's Humor, winner of consecutive sprints over the Fair Grounds main track by a combined 18 lengths, worked one mile in 1:50, breezing, with regular rider Richard Eramia up, in advance of his first attempt around two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby.
"We pretty much two-minute-licked him and let him finish," trainer Ron Faucheux said. "I thought it was perfect; exactly what we wanted. Richard said he felt good and thought he really relaxed. As long as he comes out of it OK and looks good tomorrow morning we'll go ahead and enter."
Asked which post position he'd prefer for his Sharp Humor colt, Faucheux answered "one" without hesitation and added that there's no reason to pretend their strategy might be anything other than to go to the lead and see how long they can hold on.
"He's got to go," Faucheaux said. "No secret there. He'll be in front at some point, we know that much."
Comisky's Humor set a new track record going five furlongs at the New Orleans venue in :57.08 when breaking his maiden on January 29.
Also working on Saturday for the Louisiana Derby were Fire Alarm, an entry-level allowance winner earlier in March, and Flashy Sunrise, a maiden who has finished second in consecutive Fair Grounds maiden special weights. Fire Alarm went a half-mile in :50 1/5, breezing, for trainer Bret Calhoun while Flashy Sunrise was caught in :48 3/5, breezing, for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Cigar Street, a dominant 13 3/4-length maiden winner earlier this month, will breeze Sunday immediately following the renovation break, according to Sue Margolis, wife of trainer Steve Margolis who is at Turfway Park today. Steve Margolis said earlier this week that a decision on Cigar Street's status for the Louisiana Derby would not be made until after this weekend's work.
The Louisiana Derby post position draw will be held Monday at 11:30 a.m. (CDT) in the Fair Grounds paddock.