The Fair Grounds winter 2016-2017 meet kicks off tomorrow! And the gloves are off as reigning training champ Mike Stidham is looking to win back-to-back titles at the track.
But before we hear the great man’s own thoughts about his chances of achieving the double, we have a ton of news to fill fans of the stable in with – such as Stidham’s intention next summer of stabling at Fair Hill training center, in Maryland, rather than Arlington Park, which has been Stidham Racing’s traditional headquarters for many summers.
Fair Hill is a superb training facility, conveniently located to take advantage of so much great action along that slice of the eastern corridor. And Stidham is looking forward to this exciting new venture.
As to the upcoming Fair Grounds winter meet, Stidham said that the barn is locked, loaded, and ready to roll with a whole host of tough, well handicapped horses. Jockamo’s Song and Secret Someone stand out among the potential stake race runners.
“We’ve also got a lot of young un-raced horses that we’re excited about seeing on the track,” said Stidham. “At the end of the day, it’s team effort. We’ve got great staff, and great owners, who are all pulling together to see of we can repeat what we achieved last year.”
If this week’s results are anything to go by, then Stidham sure has a good shot of double training honors this winter. Yesterday, Godolphin’s Guernsey broke his maiden in striking fashion at Delta Downs, while Richard Duchossois’ eight-year-old Veter showed that age is no barrier to success when winning the first at Hawthorne.
On opening day at Fair Grounds, Conquest Tiz One is one of 13 to line up in the $50,000 Happy Ticket Overnight Stakes, under Sophie Doyle. A fine second last December in the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes, Conquest Tiz One is a 12-1 shot to break her black type duck tomorrow.
Over at Delta Downs tomorrow, Forest Circle is one of ten scheduled to go to post in the $400,000 Grade III Delta Downs Princess Stakes. A 15-1 shot on the Morning Line, Forest Circle has hinted at better things to come in tough stake races all year, and she has the able services of Colby Hernandez in the saddle this time.
Here’s a look at the rest of the weekend runners:
Bayago – Race 2, Starter Optional Claiming $10,000
Jockamo’s Song – Race 5, Heitai Overnight S.
Midnight Moonlight – Race 9, Maiden Claiming $15,000
Clifden – Race 8, Maiden Special Weight