Weekend update

Mike Stidham heads into tomorrow’s $60,000 Bayou Stakes at Fair Grounds top-heavy with talent.

Leading the cavalry charge is Istanford, the early morning line favorite, who makes her eagerly awaited 2015 debut.

Not seen of an afternoon for nearly five months, Istanford has the able services of jockey Rafael Bejarano in the saddle as she bids to repeat the fireworks of last year, when she clinched three graded stake victories, including the Grade II San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar.

Notte d’Oro is Stidham’s next best shot at victory if the betting is any guide, and this daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is having her first run since clinching the Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap last month. James Graham takes the mount.

Third that day in the Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap, Hung The Moon is Stidham’s other Bayou contender, with jockey Miguel Mena doing the steering.

“Basically we’re ready to go and she’s ready to run,” Stidham told Mike Adolphson about Istanford for Barn Notes. “With a filly like that you hate running in a tough race for $60,000 – but that’s how it is sometimes. She’s doing very well and had a nice freshening after a tough campaign last year.”

About his two other chances in the Bayou, Stidham had this to say:

“Both horses ran well in the last race and neither have gone backwards since,” Stidham said. “I’m looking for a good performance from them. May the best horse win and hopefully it will be one of mine.”

Candy Cate and Titfortat are Stidham’s runners on the undercard tomorrow, while La Luna Rouge is his sole representative at Fair Grounds Sunday.

Check back in again next week for a review of the weekend action.


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