The countdown towards the end of the current Fair Grounds meet has begun, prompting Mike Stidham to reflect upon what has been another profitable meet for the barn.
“It’s gone well,” said Stidham. “It has been another competitive meet for us. We’ve had plenty of winners by lots of different horses. And we’ve had a couple of nice stake winners along the way, too.”
Of those stake victors, Notte d’Oro set a high benchmark earlier on in the meet when she claimed the $60,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap in stunning fashion. Notte d’Oro will seek further black type when she heads on over to Gulfstream Park later this month for the Grade III Orchid Stakes.
Ike Walker followed in Notte d’Oro’s hoof-steps when Dawn and Ike Thrash’s son of Bellamy Road positively thrashed the opposition in the $40,000 South Mississippi Owners and Breeders Stakes, nicely getting his career back on track in the process.
“Now, as we prepare to head north, we’ve got plenty to look forward to,” Stidham said. “We’ve got some of our big guns coming back in, and we’ve got another nice batch of two-year-olds waiting in the wings. We’re all set for a bang up summer.”
After his usual brief stint in Keeneland, Stidham will again send the bulk of his horses north to Arlington for the summer. This year, however, he’s anticipating a few more out-of-state runners than is ordinarily the case. Targeted tracks will include: Canterbury Park, Woodbine, Prairie Meadows, Indiana Downs, and Churchill Downs.
After the tremendous success the Stidham team enjoyed at Del Mar last year, he also expects to send another powerful squad for the summer meet again this year. Obviously dependent upon how many stalls he’s allocated, Stidham envisages that the team this year could comprise as many as 20-25 horses.
We also have news on a number of our stable stars:
Istanford: Headed along with Notte d’Oro to Gulfstream Park later this month where she’s expected to line up in The Honey Fox Stakes, a Grade II for fillies and mares over a mile on the turf.
Jessica’s Star: Almost ready to run. The Commonwealth Stakes and the Ben Ali Stakes, both at Keeneland, are tentatively pencilled into his schedule.
Ground Transport: Back in training and doing very well.
Tootsie Rules: The Tootsie Rules is also back in training. She’s expected to join the main string when they head north to Arlington.
Her Emmynency: After the colic she suffered towards the end of last year, we’re delighted to announce that Her Emmynency is back in light work. Word is, she’s looking back to her imperious best.
Roll on the summer!