After a quiet few weeks on the big race front, Mike Stidham will have to dust off his best suit with Masquerade entered in the Bayou Handicap and Ground Transport scheduled to run in the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap, both at Fair Grounds.
In the Mineshaft, worth a not too-inconsiderable $150,000, Ground Transport faces eight other rivals, including likely favorite Prayer for Relief from the Steve Asmussen stable. A winner last time out, Ground Transport heads into tomorrow’s race with his confidence sky-high, and Mark Guidry’s mount looks to hold solid claims as he bids for his first Stakes victory.
Earlier in the card, Masquerade bids to atone for her second pace finish in the Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap when she lines up in the Bayou Handicap – a $60,000 stake over one and one sixteenth miles. Masquerade has proven a revelation since joining the Stidham stable, with two wins and a stakes-placed-second in only three starts. Clearly flourishing under Stidham’s careful eye, Masquerade bids for a career high under jockey Florent Geroux.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Liz Pendens and Sanculpa run on Saturday’s undercard at Fair Grounds, while Merry Mike, Brown Almighty and A Noble Calling fly the Stidham flag Sunday.
Reflecting on this week’s action, Jenny June earned the MVP award after all but shrugging off her maiden tag Thursday. Settled midfield at the start, Jenny June was brought with a grinding run down the stretch, only to lose out on victory by a fast diminishing neck at the wire. Surely on this evidence, Jenny June won’t have too long a wait before she poses for her first picture.
Check back in again next week for a weekend round-up.